What is an example of an NMDA receptor antagonist?
The only drug in this newer class of Alzheimer’s disease drugs is Memantine, which is commonly marketed as Namenda or Ebixa.
The FDA approved its use in 2003. The drug comes in pill form, to be taken twice a day.
How NMDA receptor antagonist works:
Memantine works by blocking a receptor in the brain called glutamate, thereby guarding against brain cell death.
Neurologists blame overstimulation of glutamate receptors for accelerating that damage to cell structures.
While the three cholinesterase inhibitor drugs are meant to “enhance what we believe is good brain signalling, Namenda is meant to decrease what we think is bad brain signalling,” said Klunk.
For that reason, he said, Alzheimer’s patients are often prescribed a mix of both types of drug .
“Probably the most common thing I see is people coming into our clinic with Aricept and Namenda together,” he said.
The NMDA receptor antagonist is generally prescribed for “moderate to severe” Alzheimer’s.
Matt Kwong is a writer based in Atlanta, Georgia, and Toronto, Ontario
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