Memantine (Molecule of the Month for October 2006)
Axura, Akatinol, Namenda, Ebixa
Memantine is new kind of Alzheimer's disease drug acting on the glutamatergic system. This is a different way of targeting the disease compared to the cholinergic active drugs.
In 2001, National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has recommended that the three drugs donepezil, rivastigmine and galantamine should be made available in the NHS as one part of the management of some people with mild and moderate Alzheimer's disease.
However in 2006, NICE reversed its recommendation after appeal by the manufactures and said donepezil, rivastigmine and galantamine could be used to treat moderate stage disease, also NICE ruled another drug, memantine, should be used only in clinical studies for people with moderately severe to severe Alzheimer's disease. This means the early onset on Alzheimer's disease in its mild form cannot be treated by these drugs here in the UK
Update by Karl Harrison
(Molecule of the Month for October 2006 )