Namenda is commonly used for Alzheimer patients, but is being tested for a number of other neurological disorders.
Technically known as a moderate affinity NMDA-receptor antagonist. In Alzheimer patients, excessive glutamate inhibits the normal sending of messages in the body. This drug blocks the effects of the excessive glutamate.
Namenda is being investigated for migraine, chronic tension-type headache, and various kinds of pain.
In one sense the news so far hasn’t been overwhelming. However, memantine may bring improvement to patients that are having difficulty finding other medications that work for them (Bigal, Rapoport, Sheftell, Tepper, Tepper 2008).
In Namenda treatment for migraine, small studies have shown some improvement in migraine patients who have significant disability and a significant number of attacks each month. The dosage is usually 10-20mg per day. Some studies saw over a 50% reduction in attacks (Krusz, Cammarata, 2005).
Namenda migraine treatment shows promise, but it’s still lacking the large, double blind trials that can really show us how well it works (and who it works best for).
I should also mention that there is some indication that Namenda may help with chronic tension-type headache. The results haven’t been as promising as with Namenda migraine treatments, but patients have seen a reduction in pain intensity, and some have seen a reduction in attacks (Lindelof, Bendtesn 2009)
Again, these are very small studies. But researchers are hopeful that memantine will be a good addition to migraine treatment, especially migraine that has been harder to treat in certain people. Since tension-type headache and cognitive problems often go along with migraine, there may be certain patients that see significant improvement with Namenda.
An interesting side note on the study of memantine is new light on the differences between men and women when it comes to migraine. Read more about Namenda, Migraine and cortical spreading depression