Effects of memantine in anxiety disorders are inconsistent. The authors note that studies of memantine in generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) have been “disappointing.” However, the drug showed promising results in obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Case studies of memantine as adjunctive therapy in patients with OCD whose symptoms were refractory to ordinary first-line treatments found it to be helpful in bringing symptomatic relief and reducing scores on the Yale-Brown Obsessive Compulsive Scale (Y-BOCS).7,8 An open-label trial and a single-blind case-control study both showed improvement in patients with OCD receiving treatment with memantine.9,10 Several case studies of memantine in refractory PTSD found it to be helpful in improving an array of symptoms, including memory, mood, and concentration and decreasing hyperarousal, avoidance, and anger.
Evidence for the utility of memantine in other psychiatric disorders is sparse and inconsistent. In drug and alcohol abuse, memantine was somewhat helpful in reducing cravings, but did not yield other positive benefits.2 The NMDA receptor system has been implicated in eating disorders, implying utility of memantine in treating these conditions, the authors suggest. Animal models have yielded promising results, and a small open-label study found it helpful in reducing frequency of binging episodes in 16 patients with binge eating disorder.11
The authors point to a discrepancy between preclinical animal research and human clinical studies of human beings and encourage further study of this promising agent in human beings.
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