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MEMANTINE (Systemic)

Some commonly used brand names are:

In the U.S.—

  • Namenda

In Canada—

  • Ebixa


  • Dementia symptoms treatment adjunct


Memantine (me-MAN-teen) is used to treat moderate to severe Alzheimer"s disease. Memantine is not a cure for Alzheimer"s disease but it can help people with the disease. Memantine will not cure Alzheimer"s disease, and it will not stop the disease from getting worse.

This medicine is available only with your doctor"s prescription, in the following dosage forms:

  • Oral
  • Solution (U.S.)
  • Tablets (U.S.)

Before Using This Medicine

In deciding to use a medicine, the risks of taking the medicine must be weighed against the good it will do. This is a decision you and your doctor will make. For memantine, the following should be considered:

Allergies—Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to memantine. Also tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to any other substances, such as foods, preservatives, or dyes.

Pregnancy—Memantine has not been studied in pregnant women. However, memantine has not been shown to cause birth defects or other problems in animal studies.

Breast-feeding—It is not known whether memantine passes into breast milk. Although most medicines pass into breast milk in small amounts, many of them may be used safely when breast feeding. Mothers who are taking this medicine and who wish to breast feed should discuss it with their doctor.

Children—Studies on this medicine have only been done in adult patients, and there is no specific information comparing the use of memantine in children with use in other age groups. This medicine is generally not used in children.

Older adults—This medicine has been studied in older adults and has not been shown to cause different side effects or problems in older people than it does in younger adults.

Other medical problems—The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of memantine. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:

  • Kidney disease—Memantine may make this condition worse. Patients with severe kidney disease may need to take a smaller amount of memantine.
  • Difficult urination
  • Urinary tract problems
  • Urinary tract blockage—Memantine may make these conditions worse.
  • Epilepsy or history of seizures—Memantine may make this medical condition worse.

Proper Use of This Medicine

Dosing—For patients taking the oral solution form of this medicine:

  • Remove oral dosing syringe along with the cap and plastic tube from the bag and attach to tube to the cap.
  • Open the child-resistant cap on the bottle by pushing down on the cap while turning the cap counter-clockwise (to the left) and remove the cap and seal from the bottle.
  • Insert the plastic tube fully into the bottle and screw the cap tightly onto the bottle by turning the cap clockwise (to the right).
  • Keeping the bottle upright on the table, remove the lid to uncover the opening on the top of the cap. With the plunger fully depressed, insert the tip of the syringe firmly into the opening of the cap.
  • While holding the syringe, gently pull the plunger of the syringe up to draw medicine into the syringe.
  • Remove the syringe from the cap opening. Invert the syringe (point tip upwards) and slowly press the plunger to a level that pushed out any large air bubbles that may be present. Keep the plunger in this position.
  • Re-insert the tip of the syringe into the cap opening. While holding the syringe, continue to gently pull out the plunger until the bottom of the black ring of the plunger reaches the appropriate mark on the syringe that corresponds to the dose prescribed.
  • Remove the syringe from the bottle and swallow the oral solution directly from the syringe. Do not mix with any other liquid.
  • After use, reseal the bottle by snapping the attached lid closed.
  • Rinse the empty syringe by inserting the open end of the syringe into a glass of water, pulling the plunger out to draw in water, and pushing the plunger in to remove the water. Repeat several times. Allow the syringe to air dry.

The dose of memantine will be different for different patients. Follow your doctor"s orders or the directions on the label . The following information includes only the average doses of memantine. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so.

The number of tablets that you take depends on the strength of the medicine. Also, the number of doses you take each day and the time allowed between doses will be determined by your doctor.

  • For oral dosage form (oral solution and tablets)
    • For treatment of Alzheimer"s disease
      • Adults—To start, take 5 mg (milligrams) once a day. Your doctor may increase your dose gradually up to 10 mg (milligrams) twice a day.
      • Children—This medicine is not used in children.

Missed dose—If you miss a dose of this medicine, take it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not double doses.

Storage—To store this medicine:

  • Keep out of the reach of children.
  • Do not store in the bathroom, near the kitchen sink, or in other damp places. Heat or moisture may cause the medicine to break down.
  • Keep the medicine from freezing. Do not refrigerate.
  • Do not keep outdated medicine or medicine no longer needed. Ask your health care professional how you should dispose of any medicine you do not use. Be sure that any discarded medicine is out of the reach of children.

Precautions While Using This Medicine

It is very important that your healthcare professional check your progress at regular visits to make sure that this medicine is working properly and to check for unwanted effects.

Side Effects of This Medicine

Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.

Check with your doctor immediately if any of the following side effects occur:

Less common

Bloating or swelling of face, arms, hands, lower legs, or feet; blurred vision; dizziness; headache; nervousness; pounding in the ears; rapid weight gain; slow or fast heartbeat; tingling of hands or feet; unusual weight gain or loss

Incidence not known

Abdominal pain; agitation; black, tarry stools; bleeding gums; blistering, peeling, loosening of skin; bloating; blood in urine or stools; chest pain; coma; constipation; continuing vomiting; convulsions; dark-colored urine; decreased urine output; depression; fainting; fast, pounding, or irregular heartbeat or pulse; general feeling of tiredness or weakness; high fever; high or low blood pressure; hostility; increased sweating; indigestion; infection from breathing foreign substances into the lungs; itching; lethargy; light-colored stools; lip smacking or puckering; loss of consciousness; muscle twitching; no blood pressure; no breathing; no pulse; numbness or tingling in face, arms, legs; pain or swelling in arms or legs without any injury; pain, tension, and weakness upon walking that subsides during periods of rest; pains in stomach, side, or abdomen, possibly radiating to the back; palpitations; pinpoint red spots on skin; pounding, slow heartbeat; puffing of cheeks; rapid or worm-like movements of tongue; rapid weight gain; recurrent fainting; red irritated eyes; red skin lesions, often with a purple center; seizures; severe constipation; severe headache; severe muscle stiffness; severe vomiting; sores, ulcers, or white spots in mouth or on lips; stomach pain; stupor; sudden severe weakness; swelling of face, ankles, or hands; total body jerking; trouble speaking or walking; troubled breathing; twitching, twisting, uncontrolled repetitive movements of tongue, lips, face, arms, or legs; uncontrolled chewing movements; uncontrolled movements of arms and legs; unusual bleeding or bruising; unusually pale skin; vomiting; yellow eyes and skin

Other side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. However, check with your doctor if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome.

More common


Less common

Anxiety; back pain; bladder pain; bloody or cloudy urine; change in walking and balance; chills; clumsiness or unsteadiness; cough producing mucus; coughing; difficult, burning, or painful urination; difficulty breathing; difficulty moving; difficulty having a bowel movement (stool); diarrhea; discouragement; dry mouth; fear; feeling sad or empty; fever; frequent urge to urinate; general feeling of discomfort or illness; hyperventilation; insomnia; irregular heartbeats; irritability; joint pain; loss of appetite; loss of bladder control; loss of interest or pleasure; lower back or side pain; muscle pain or stiffness; nausea; nervousness; pain; pain in joints; restlessness; seeing, hearing, or feeling things that are not there; shortness of breath; sleepiness or unusual drowsiness; sore throat; tightness in chest; tiredness; trouble concentrating; trouble sleeping; unusual tiredness or weakness; vomiting; wheezing

Incidence not known

Burning feeling in chest or stomach; burning, numbness, pain, or tingling in all fingers except smallest finger; cold sweats; cool pale skin; decreased interest in sexual intercourse; difficulty swallowing; general feeling of discomfort or illness; heartburn; inability to have or keep an erection; increased hunger; large amount of fat in the blood; loss in sexual ability, desire, drive, or performance; nightmares; shakiness; slurred speech; stomach cramps; stomach upset; tenderness in stomach area; watery or bloody diarrhea

Other side effects not listed above may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your doctor.

Developed: 03/02/2004
Revised: 09/23/2005

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Typical mistypes for Ebixa
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