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Mechanism Of Action
Persistent activation of central nervous system N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptors by the excitatory amino acid glutamate has been hypothesized to contribute to the symptomatology of Alzheimer's disease. Memantine is postulated to exert its therapeutic effect through its action as a low to moderate affinity uncompetitive (open-channel) NMDA receptor antagonist which binds preferentially to the NMDA receptor-operated cation channels. There is no evidence that memantine prevents or slows neurodegeneration in patients with Alzheimer's disease.
Memantine showed low to negligible affinity for GABA, benzodiazepine, dopamine, adrenergic, histamine and glycine receptors and for voltage-dependent Ca2+, Na+, or K+ channels. Memantine also showed antagonistic effects at the 5HT3 receptor with a potency similar to that for the NMDA receptor and blocked nicotinic acetylcholine receptors with one-sixth to one-tenth the potency.
In vitro studies have shown that memantine does not affect the reversible inhibition of acetylcholinesterase by donepezil, galantamine, or tacrine.
Memantine is well absorbed after oral administration and has linear pharmacokinetics over the therapeutic dose range. It is excreted predominantly unchanged in urine and has a terminal elimination half-life of about 60-80 hours. In a study comparing 28 mg once daily NAMENDA XR to 10 mg twice daily NAMENDA, the Cmax and AUC0-24 values were 48% and 33% higher for the XR dosage regimen, respectively.
After multiple dose administration of NAMENDA XR, memantine peak concentrations occur around 9-12 hours post-dose. There is no difference in the absorption of NAMENDA XR when the capsule is taken intact or when the contents are sprinkled on applesauce.
There is no difference in memantine exposure, based on Cmax or AUC, for NAMENDA XR whether that drug product is administered with food or on an empty stomach. However, peak plasma concentrations are achieved about 18 hours after administration with food versus approximately 25 hours after administration on an empty stomach.
The mean volume of distribution of memantine is 9-11 L/kg and the plasma protein binding is low (45%).
Memantine undergoes partial hepatic metabolism. The hepatic microsomal CYP450 enzyme system does not play a significant role in the metabolism of memantine.
Memantine is excreted predominantly in the urine, unchanged, and has a terminal elimination half-life of about 60-80 hours. About 48% of administered drug is excreted unchanged in urine; the remainder is converted primarily to three polar metabolites which possess minimal NMDA receptor antagonistic activity: the N-glucuronide conjugate, 6hydroxy memantine, and 1-nitroso-deaminated memantine. A total of 74% of the administered dose is excreted as the sum of the parent drug and the N-glucuronide conjugate. Renal clearance involves active tubular secretion moderated by pH dependent tubular reabsorption.
The pharmacokinetics of memantine in young and elderly subjects are similar.
Following multiple dose administration of memantine HCl 20 mg daily, females had about 45% higher exposure than males, but there was no difference in exposure when body weight was taken into account.
Memantine pharmacokinetics were evaluated following single oral administration of 20 mg memantine HCl in 8 subjects with mild renal impairment (creatinine clearance, CLcr, > 50 – 80 mL/min), 8 subjects with moderate renal impairment (CLcr 30 – 49 mL/min), 7 subjects with severe renal impairment (CLcr 5 – 29 mL/min) and 8 healthy subjects (CLcr > 80 mL/min) matched as closely as possible by age, weight and gender to the subjects with renal impairment. Mean AUC0-∞ increased by 4%, 60%, and 115% in subjects with mild, moderate, and severe renal impairment, respectively, compared to healthy subjects. The terminal elimination half-life increased by 18%, 41%, and 95% in subjects with mild, moderate, and severe renal impairment, respectively, compared to healthy subjects.
Memantine pharmacokinetics were evaluated following the administration of single oral doses of 20 mg in 8 subjects with moderate hepatic impairment (Child-Pugh Class B, score 7-9) and 8 subjects who were age-, gender-, and weight-matched to the hepaticallyimpaired subjects. There was no change in memantine exposure (based on Cmax and AUC) in subjects with moderate hepatic impairment as compared with healthy subjects. However, terminal elimination half-life increased by about 16% in subjects with moderate hepatic impairment as compared with healthy subjects.
Use with Cholinesterase Inhibitors
Coadministration of memantine with the AChE inhibitor donepezil HCl did not affect the pharmacokinetics of either compound. Furthermore, memantine did not affect AChE inhibition by donepezil. In a 24-week controlled clinical study in patients with moderate to severe Alzheimer's disease, the adverse reaction profile observed with a combination of memantine immediate-release and donepezil was similar to that of donepezil alone.
Effect of Memantine on the Metabolism of Other Drugs
In vitro studies conducted with marker substrates of CYP450 enzymes (CYP1A2, -2A6, 2C9, -2D6, -2E1, -3A4) showed minimal inhibition of these enzymes by memantine. In addition, in vitro studies indicate that at concentrations exceeding those associated with efficacy, memantine does not induce the cytochrome P450 isozymes CYP1A2, -2C9, 2E1 and -3A4/5. No pharmacokinetic interactions with drugs metabolized by these enzymes are expected.
Pharmacokinetic studies evaluated the potential of memantine for interaction with warfarin and bupropion. Memantine did not affect the pharmacokinetics of the CYP2B6 substrate bupropion or its metabolite hydroxybupropion. Furthermore, memantine did not affect the pharmacokinetics or pharmacodynamics of warfarin as assessed by the prothrombin INR.
Effect of Other Drugs on Memantine
Memantine is predominantly renally eliminated, and drugs that are substrates and/or inhibitors of the CYP450 system are not expected to alter the metabolism of memantine.
Drugs Eliminated via Renal Mechanisms
Because memantine is eliminated in part by tubular secretion, coadministration of drugs that use the same renal cationic system, including hydrochlorothiazide (HCTZ), triamterene (TA), metformin, cimetidine, ranitidine, quinidine, and nicotine, could potentially result in altered plasma levels of both agents. However, coadministration of memantine and HCTZ/TA did not affect the bioavailability of either memantine or TA, and the bioavailability of HCTZ decreased by 20%. In addition, coadministration of memantine with the antihyperglycemic drug Glucovance (glyburide and metformin HCl) did not affect the pharmacokinetics of memantine, metformin and glyburide. Furthermore, memantine did not modify the serum glucose lowering effect of Glucovance, indicating the absence of a pharmacodynamic interaction.
Drugs Highly Bound to Plasma Proteins
Because the plasma protein binding of memantine is low (45%), an interaction with drugs that are highly bound to plasma proteins, such as warfarin and digoxin, is unlikely.
Animal Toxicology And /Or Pharmacology
Memantine induced neuronal lesions (vacuolation and necrosis) in the multipolar and pyramidal cells in cortical layers III and IV of the posterior cingulate and retrosplenial neocortices in rats, similar to those which are known to occur in rodents administered other NMDA receptor antagonists. Lesions were seen after a single dose of memantine. In a study in which rats were given daily oral doses of memantine for 14 days, the no-effect dose for neuronal necrosis was 4 times the maximum recommended human dose (MRHD of 28 mg/day) on a mg/m² basis.
In acute and repeat-dose neurotoxicity studies in female rats, oral administration of memantine and donepezil in combination resulted in increased incidence, severity, and distribution of neurodegeneration compared with memantine alone. The no-effect levels of the combination were associated with clinically relevant plasma memantine and donepezil exposures.
The relevance of these findings to humans is unknown.
The effectiveness of NAMENDA XR as a treatment for patients with moderate to severe Alzheimer's disease was based on the results of a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial.
24-week Study of NAMENDA XR Capsules
This was a randomized double-blind clinical investigation in outpatients with moderate to severe Alzheimer's disease (diagnosed by DSM-IV criteria and NINCDS-ADRDA criteria for AD with a Mini Mental State Examination (MMSE) score ≥ 3 and ≤ 14 at
Screening and Baseline) receiving acetylcholinesterase inhibitor (AChEI) therapy at a stable dose for 3 months prior to screening. The mean age of patients participating in this trial was 76.5 years with a range of 49-97 years. Approximately 72% of patients were female and 94% were Caucasian.
Study Outcome Measures
The effectiveness of NAMENDA XR was evaluated in this study using the co-primary efficacy parameters of Severe Impairment Battery (SIB) and the Clinician's Interview-Based Impression of Change (CIBIC-Plus).
The ability of NAMENDA XR to improve cognitive performance was assessed with the Severe Impairment Battery (SIB), a multi-item instrument that has been validated for the evaluation of cognitive function in patients with moderate to severe dementia. The SIB examines selected aspects of cognitive performance, including elements of attention, orientation, language, memory, visuospatial ability, construction, praxis, and social interaction. The SIB scoring range is from 0 to 100, with lower scores indicating greater cognitive impairment.
The ability of NAMENDA XR to produce an overall clinical effect was assessed using a Clinician's Interview Based Impression of Change that required the use of caregiver information, the CIBIC-Plus. The CIBIC-Plus is not a single instrument and is not a standardized instrument like the ADCS-ADL or SIB. Clinical trials for investigational drugs have used a variety of CIBIC formats, each different in terms of depth and structure. As such, results from a CIBIC-Plus reflect clinical experience from the trial or trials in which it was used and cannot be compared directly with the results of CIBIC-Plus evaluations from other clinical trials. The CIBIC-Plus used in this trial was a structured instrument based on a comprehensive evaluation at baseline and subsequent time-points of four domains: general (overall clinical status), functional (including activities of daily living), cognitive, and behavioral. It represents the assessment of a skilled clinician using validated scales based on his/her observation during an interview with the patient, in combination with information supplied by a caregiver familiar with the behavior of the patient over the interval rated. The CIBIC-Plus is scored as a seven point categorical rating, ranging from a score of 1, indicating “marked improvement” to a score of 4, indicating “no change” to a score of 7, indicating “marked worsening.” The CIBIC-Plus has not been systematically compared directly to assessments not using information from caregivers (CIBIC) or other global methods.
In this study, 677 patients were randomized to one of the following 2 treatments: NAMENDA XR 28 mg/day or placebo while still receiving an AChEI (either donepezil, galantamine, or rivastigmine).
Effects on Severe Impairment Battery (SIB)
Figure 1 shows the time course for the change from baseline in SIB score for the two treatment groups completing the 24 weeks of the study. At 24 weeks of treatment, the mean difference in the SIB change scores for the NAMENDA XR 28 mg/AChEI-treated (combination therapy) patients compared to the patients on placebo/AChEI (monotherapy) was 2.6 units. Using an LOCF analysis, NAMENDA XR 28 mg/AChEI treatment was statistically significantly superior to placebo/AChEI.
Figure 1: Time course of the
change from baseline in SIB score for patients completing 24 weeks of
Figure 2 shows the cumulative percentages of patients from each treatment group who had attained at least the measure of improvement in SIB score shown on the X axis. The curves show that both patients assigned to NAMENDA XR 28 mg/AChEI and placebo/AChEI have a wide range of responses, but that the NAMENDA XR 28 mg/AChEI group is more likely to show an improvement or a smaller decline.
Figure 2: Cumulative
percentage of patients completing 24 weeks of double-blind treatment with
specified changes from baseline in SIB scores.
Figure 3 shows the time course for the CIBIC-Plus score for patients in the two treatment groups completing the 24 weeks of the study. At 24 weeks of treatment, the mean difference in the CIBIC-Plus scores for the NAMENDA XR 28 mg/AChEI-treated patients compared to the patients on placebo/AChEI was 0.3 units. Using an LOCF analysis, NAMENDA XR 28 mg/AChEI treatment was statistically significantly superior to placebo/AChEI.
Figure 3: Time course of the
CIBIC-Plus score for patients completing 24 weeks of treatment.
Figure 4 is a histogram of the percentage distribution of CIBIC-Plus scores attained by patients assigned to each of the treatment groups who completed 24 weeks of treatment.
Figure 4: Distribution of
CIBIC-Plus ratings at week 24.
Last reviewed on RxList: 10/14/2014
This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.
Additional Namenda XR Information
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