Memantine for migraine

Memantine is technically a moderate affinity NMDA-receptor antagonist used for Alzheimer patients to improve memory.  It’s available in the USA, Europe, Mexico, and some countries in South America.  It’s sold as Axura, Akatinol, Namenda and Ebixa.

Memantine is now being used "off label" for both migraine and tension headache.  In the case of migraine, it may be that the drug blocks the waves of electrical activity (cortical spreading depressionCSD) that spread across the brain during an attack.  In a study published in the Journal of Headache and Pain, 66% of patients found significant relief after taking the drug.  It was a small study, but it sounds hopeful.

The study into CSD has an interesting side note.  Studying mice, it was found that it was far easier to trigger CSD in females than in males.  Since the "estrous cycle" was not taken into consideration in the study, it may be that this difference, if it holds true in humans, is not related to the menstrual cycle.

So the reason why women get more migraines than men may be a lot more complex than hormones.

Read more here – Why Women Get More Migraines Than Men from California’s UCLA.

Can mice tell us anything about why women get migraine?
Can mice tell us anything about why women get migraine?
Photo courtesy of beijinglaoda

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1 comment… add one
  • Carolyn Skidmore Nov 3, 2010

    Suffer daily migraines. Have tried everything. Did Namenda for one month at 20 mg every am. Could not rest as mind wouldn’t let me. Blood pressure started rising too. Headaches were no better. Getting off the drug.It did not work.

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