Memantine Slows Moderate To Severe Alzheimer Disease

Drug seen as safe and effective in open-label trial

MONDAY, Jan. 9 (HealthDay News) -- The drug memantine appears to be safe and effective for the treatment of patients with moderate to severe Alzheimer disease for one year, according to the results of an open-label extended trial published in the January issue of the Archives of Neurology.

Barry Reisberg, M.D., of New York University School of Medicine, and colleagues conducted the study, which was a 24-week, open-label extension of a 28-week randomized, placebo-controlled trial of memantine in 252 patients with moderate to severe Alzheimer disease. In the new study, 175 patients, including 80 who had previously taken a placebo, were given 20 mg of memantine daily.

The patients who switched to memantine from the placebo group experienced significant cognitive and functional benefits compared to their decline on placebo, the researchers found.

"These results extend previous findings that demonstrated the efficacy and safety of memantine in the treatment of patients with moderate to severe Alzheimer disease," the authors write.

The study was funded by Merz Pharmaceuticals GmbH, Frankfurt, Germany.

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