, Volume 228, Issue 4, pp 633–640 | Cite as

In a double-blind, randomized and placebo-controlled trial, adjuvant memantine improved symptoms in inpatients suffering from refractory obsessive-compulsive disorders (OCD)

  • Mohammad Haghighi
  • Leila Jahangard
  • Hamid Mohammad-Beigi
  • Hafez Bajoghli
  • Hassan Hafezian
  • Alireza Rahimi
  • Hamid Afshar
  • Edith Holsboer-TrachslerEmail author
  • Serge Brand
Original Investigation



There is growing evidence that memantine, a noncompetitive N-methyl-d-aspartate receptor antagonist, may be applied as an add-on in treating patients suffering from obsessive–compulsive disorders (OCD). The aim of the present study was therefore to assess the effect of adjuvant memantine in a double-blind, randomized, and placebo-controlled study of the treatment of patients suffering from OCD.


A total of 40 inpatients (32 females (80 %); mean age = 31.25 years) suffering from OCD were randomly assigned to a treatment (administration of memantine) or a control group (placebo). Treatment lasted for 12 consecutive weeks. All patients were treated with selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors or clomipramine. Patients completed the Yale–Brown Obsessive Compulsive Scale four times. Experts’ ratings consisted in clinical global impression (clinical global impressions (CGI), illness severity and illness improvement; two to three times). Liver enzymes SGOT and SGPT were also assessed (twice).


Of the 40 inpatients approached, 29 completed the 12 consecutive weeks of the study. Of the 11 dropouts, 6 were in the target group and five in the control group. Symptoms significantly decreased across the period of the study, but particularly in the treatment compared with the control group (significant time × group interaction). Illness severity (CGI severity) also significantly decreased over time but more so in the treatment than in the control group (significant time × group interaction). Illness improvements (CGI improvements) were not significant.


The pattern of results from the present double-blind, randomized, and placebo-controlled study for the treatment of patients suffering from OCD suggests that adjuvant memantine does significantly and favorably impact on OCD.


Obsessive–compulsive disorder Memantine SSRIs Double-blind trial Placebo Y-BOCS 


Conflict of interest

All authors declare no conflicts of interest; the entire study was performed without external funding


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mohammad Haghighi
    • 1
  • Leila Jahangard
    • 1
  • Hamid Mohammad-Beigi
    • 2
  • Hafez Bajoghli
    • 3
  • Hassan Hafezian
    • 1
  • Alireza Rahimi
    • 1
  • Hamid Afshar
    • 2
  • Edith Holsboer-Trachsler
    • 4
    Email author
  • Serge Brand
    • 4
  1. 1.Research Center for Behavioral Disorders and Substances AbuseHamadan University of Medical SciencesHamadanIran
  2. 2.Isfahan Psychosomatic Research CenterIsfahan University of Medical SciencesIsfahanIran
  3. 3.Psychiatry and Psychology Research Center (PPRC), Roozbeh HospitalTehran University of Medical SciencesTehranIran
  4. 4.Center for Affective, Stress and Sleep Disorders (ZASS)Psychiatric Hospital of the University of BaselBaselSwitzerland

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