August 24, 2010
An extended-release form of Namenda, the drug used to treat moderate to severe Alzheimer’s disease, was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration. The approval clears the way for the drug to be sold in U.S. pharmacies.
Namenda, also known as memantine, has been available in a twice-a-day formulation since 2003. The new extended-release form of the drug is given once a day, which may make it easier for people with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers to manage treatment. It comes as a 28-milligram dose pill.
Studies of the drug showed that the new formulation of the drug has effects similar to the older version. Patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s had modest improvements in their memory and thinking skills. As with other Alzheimer’s drugs, though, Namenda may ease symptoms but does nothing to stop the underlying progression of disease.
Caregivers of patients who are switching from the older to the newer version of Namenda should pay careful attention to the prescribing doctor’s supervision regarding dosage.
As with the older version of the drug, side effects can include headaches, diarrhea or dizziness.
Source: Forest Laboratories.