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Efficacy of memantine, an NMDA receptor antagonist, in the treatment of Parkinson's disease


Memantine is a 1-amino-adamantane derivative which has been proposed to be useful in the treatment of Parkinson's disease. Its beneficial effect has been related to its novel properties as an NMDA receptor blocker which can neutralize the effect of glutamate at striatal and subthalamic levels. In the present study, conducted in an open-fashion, 14 parkinsonian patients with motor fluctuations taking L-dopa, were given a supplement of memantine 30 mg/day. After one month, 10 patients completed the treatment (4 discontinued it due to abdominal pain, psychomotor agitation, confusion and dizziness). In 5 patients, the main parkinsonian features improved significantly (1 point or more on the Webster scale). In 6 patients, “off” episodes improved (from daily mean of 273 minutes, to 172 minutes). In summary, memantine addition to parkinsonian features, could form a basis for novel therapeutic strategies directed to neutralize the effects of glutamate at striatal and subthalamic levels.

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Rabey, J.M., Nissipeanu, P. & Korczyn, A.D. Efficacy of memantine, an NMDA receptor antagonist, in the treatment of Parkinson's disease. J Neural Transm Gen Sect 4, 277–282 (1992). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02260076

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  • Memantine
  • NMDA receptor antagonists
  • Parkinson's disease