Namenda® Fact Sheet

This Fact Sheet accompanies the Namenda class in the classroom.

What is Namenda?

Namenda is a newer Alzheimer’s drug that acts differently than those in the past. Although it will not stop the disease, it may temporarily reverse some symptoms or slow the disease development. With new drugs in particular, but really any drug we constantly learn how good they are, about new uses and side effects as more patients are treated for longer periods of time.

Why is Namenda different?

Namenda blocks the NMDA receptor, which is normally a target of glutamate. Glutamate is a chemical messenger involved in storing, processing and retrieving information. Glutamate triggers the NMDA receptor, which normally protects the brain cells from an imbalance of chemicals and electrolytes like calcium. Over excitation of the NMDA receptor has also been shown to cause nerve damage leading to the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. This new site of action allows it to be used with older Alzheimer’s drugs such as Aricept.

What are the current approved use(s)?

Namenda is used to treat moderate to severe Alzheimer’s disease.

What new uses are being tested?

How effective is it?

As mentioned before Namenda can be used alone or together with Aricept. In studies with Namenda alone, about 29% of patients showed improvement in symptoms. Symptoms such as behavior, attention, language, memory, orientation, social interaction and activities of daily living were noted. When Namenda was added to patients already on Aricept, patients showed major improvement over when they were on Aricept alone. Namenda has also been shown to reduce the number of hours caregivers work. A decrease of 45.8 hours a month was recorded in the study of Namenda alone. Full effect may take anywhere from 4 to 8 weeks. Although it is not a miracle cure, some patients have improved and progression of the disease slowed.

What are the dosing instructions?

When starting on Namenda a starter kit/titration pack will allow the patient to gradually increase to the goal dose over time to reduce side effects.

Usual maintenance dose is 10 mg every morning and night; usually 12 hours apart. Maximum dosage is 30 mg every day. Namenda can be taken with or without food.

What happens if I miss a dose?

If a dose is missed, it should be taken as soon as possible. If it is almost time for the next dose, take only that dose. Be sure not to double up on doses or take extra doses.

What are the side effects?

Call a doctor if you experience:

  • Agitation
  • Restlessness
  • Confusion
  • Dizziness
  • Hallucinations
  • Not being able to hold urine,
  • Swelling in throat,
  • Rash
  • Vomiting

Do not require medical attention unless they continue or are bothersome:

  • Constipation
  • Mild diarrhea
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Drowsiness
  • Feeling of nausea
  • Upset stomach
  • Headache

Tip: Because it is hard to remember everything GET IT IN WRITING. Ask what side effects may be specific to you and if unsure try recapping information back to your health care professional.

Which medications may interact?

Tip: Always tell your pharmacist or doctor before starting or stopping any medication. Medications include herbal drugs and over the counter medicines such as pain relievers, cough and cold preparations, and sleep aides.

When might this drug NOT be used?

Patients with seizures and kidney disease may not be able to take this drug. Although, starting on any drug is patient physician dependent.

How much will it cost?

Namenda is covered on the Medicare Discount Cards.
for more information visit

Estimated prices for a 30 day supply of 10 mg twice a day (60 tablets) * results of a phone survey conducted on 06/12/04 in Florida

Pharmacy* Price
Eckerd Drug $148.49
Walmart $142.80
Walgreens $139.29
Publix $138.95

Are there any patient assistance programs?

This Summary of Namenda is for informational purposes only. It is important to discuss this information with your personal health care professional. Namenda may not be for all patients; decisions are patient physician dependent.


  • Namenda Web site. Available at: Accessed on June 1, 2004.
  • Namenda [package insert]. St Louis, Mo: Forest Laboratories, Inc; 2003
  • Clinical Pharmacology, Version 2.12. Gold Standard Multimedia. Copyright 2004.
  • MICROMEDEX® Healthcare Series, Thomson MICROMEDEX, Greenwood Village, Colorado (Edition expires [9/2004]).



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College of Public Health and Health Professions, University of Florida