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?
- Cerebral Coma
- Vascular Dementia
- Hemiplegia - Paralysis of the same side of the body presents as weakness with abnormal tone, such as rigidity or spasticity.
- Neurogenic Bladder- Loss of normal bladder function. Bladder can be underactive, where it is unable to contract and empty completely, or overactive when it contracts too quickly or too much.
- Phantom Limb Pain- pain in a limb that has been lost.
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.
- 5 mg tablet every day for the first week
- 5 mg tablet morning and night for the second week
- 10 mg tablet every morning and 5 mg tablet every night for the third week
- 10 mg tablet every morning and night for the fourth week and afterwards
- * The minimum recommended interval between dose increases is one week
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:
- Not being able to hold urine,
- Swelling in throat,
Do not require medical attention unless they continue or are bothersome:
- Mild diarrhea
- Trouble sleeping
- Feeling of nausea
- Upset stomach
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?
- Medicines for colds, flu, hay fever, or other allergies (antihistamines)
- amantadine or other NMDA receptor antagonists
- Drugs that are excreted through the kidneys such as: hydrochlorothiazide, triamterene, cimetidine, ranitidine, quinidine, and nicotine.
- sodium bicarbonate
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 www.medicare.gov.
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
Are there any patient assistance programs?
- Forest Pharmaceuticals offers a patient assistance program found at www.forestpharm.com/pap
- Needy Meds also helps cover Namenda 5 mg and 10 mg and the Namenda titration pak. www.needymeds.com
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: www.Namenda.com 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]).