California Highlands

Memantine HCL: A Deeper Look Into the Treatment for Alzheimer’s

The symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease can be challenging to deal with on a day-to-day basis, for those afflicted as well as for caregivers. Fortunately, there are medications such as Memantine HCL to help combat these symptoms. Alzheimer’s Disease is a brain disease that slowly destroys an individual’s ability to think, learn, and communicate normally. Memantine HCL is a medication that has gained significant popularity for treating dementia but what are the side effects and dangers of Memantine?

What Is Memantine HCL?

Memantine HCL is included in a class of medications called NMDA receptor antagonists. With certain a dosage, it decreases the amount of abnormal activity in the brain. When an individual is suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease, the brain produces an excess amount of a chemical called glutamate, which sends messages between nerve cells. Excess glutamate in the brain is severely damaging to the brain cells; it creates more room for symptoms of Alzheimer’s to worsen. Memantine HCL protects the brain by blocking the effects of excess glutamate.

Although Alzheimer’s Disease is not curable, this drug helps to slow the progression of the disease in people with moderate to severe cases of Alzheimer’s.

Who Uses Memantine HCL?

Memantine HCL was initially created for use in diabetics until it proved to be ineffective in lowering blood sugar.

After this, the drug was found to produce effects on the Central Nervous System. In 1989, it was approved in Germany for use in people who suffered from dementia. Since then, the drug has gained significant popularity and has proven effective in individuals with moderate-to-severe Alzheimer’s Disease.

Individuals who exhibit the symptoms of extreme confusion or dementia related to Alzheimer’s Disease take this medication to mitigate their side effects and potentially slow down the disease from reaching a point of no return.

Symptoms of Alzheimer’s

Alzheimer’s Disease is incurable. Sadly, it is inevitable that whoever is suffering from the disease will eventually “lose his or her mind” entirely. However, since Alzheimer’s progression is rather slow, medications such as Memantine HCL spare the individual some time from fully succumbing to the disease.

Alzheimer’s is a relentless disease that slowly leaves an individual with an inability to carry out the simplest tasks. It is a brain disease that causes:

  • Memory loss
  • Cognitive impairment
  • Loss of thinking and reasoning skills
  • Confusion
  • Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships

Benefits of Memantine HCL

Memantine HCL use is only prescribed for people with moderate-to-severe dementia, not for individuals suffering from a mild form of the disease.

Memantine is intended to prevent an excess of glutamate from damaging the brain. Glutamate is a neurotransmitter, in other words, a substance that sends messages to neural signals. A permanent excess of glutamate leads to the death of neural cells. Memantine is intended to prevent this from occurring without affecting the normal transmission of neural signals.

In this case, the medication is effective. However, there is a small number of studies conducting the effectiveness of this drug alone. More often than not, this medication is taken as an additive in the treatment of brain disease.

Memantine HCL Side Effects

Like most medications, experiencing side effects is common and heavily depends on the dosage. Less severe Memantine HCL side effects include:

  • Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea
  • Dizziness
  • Weight loss
  • Swelling in hands and feet
  • Anxiety or restlessness
  • Increase in anger or agitation

The more serious Memantine HCL side effects include:

  • Chest tightness, fever, and trouble breathing
  • Elevated heart rate
  • Hallucinations or confusion
  • Sudden numbness or weakness, specifically on one side of the body
  • Lack of coordination
  • Convulsions
  • Urinating less than usual or not at all
  • Flushing of skin

Under the circumstances an individual starts to experience severe side-effects from taking Memantine HCL, the individual will discontinue use of the drug.

Can It Become Addictive?

As the use of Memantine in people with dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease is most common, the drug has been used as a nootropic drug to improve cognitive abilities. Although the drug does improve cognitive abilities as it’s mechanism of action, it is most likely to occur only in the use of individuals suffering from dementia or other brain injuries.

Memantine HCL is not known to cause addiction but, used in high dosages and in conjunction with other substances, can lead to dangerous side effects. Alone, the drug is safe when used properly; however, Memantine HCL use can be deadly when combined with drugs in other classifications such as:

Dangerous Interactions

When an individual combines stimulants with Memantine HCL the individual runs a risk of increasing anxiety. Higher levels of anxiety in an individual can lead to manic episodes, hallucinations, extreme paranoia, and can even lead the individual to experience a psychotic episode.

When Memantine HCL is combined with depressants, the individual’s respiratory system can be affected. Since both depress the respiratory system, the individual runs the risk of respiratory failure.

Synthetic drugs such as NBOMe used in conjunction with Memantine HCL can lead to high blood pressure, severe panic attacks, and seizures. Since most synthetic drugs produce stimulating effects, the side-effects from combining these drugs can be severe.

Are You Struggling?

Brain damage can be caused by underlying medical issues. Side effects of drug or alcohol abuse can also lead to brain damage. Although medication is available to those suffering from an incurable illness, often times, the inevitable occurs.

Fortunately, addiction is a disease that is curable with help from professionals. At California Highlands Addiction Treatment Center, our goal is to help you or a loved one to regain control of life. We offer a number of services that cater to each individual’s needs and goals on his or her path to sobriety. If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, call (888) 969-8755 today. Our trained medical staff is available 24/7 to assist you in finding the right treatment program for you or your loved one.