Researchers at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center are conducting research into using the dementia drug Namenda (memantine) as a therapy for treatment-resistant depression. Memantine, acts on the brain’s NMDA receptors, which are known to play a role in depression. The research could eventually lead to a treatment that blocks NMDA receptors and better controls depression with fewer side effects.
Memantine is chemically similar to ketamine, which is known to produce a fast-acting antidepressant effect in patients. However, ketamine’s other effects and recreational use make it unable to use for depression. But memantine reacts with the same brain receptors as ketamine, though researchers have found that it doesn’t produce the same antidepressant effect.
Millions of Americans with depression function perfectly well using common treatments, but there are those whose disease shows resistance to most drugs. The drug, memantine, acts on the brain’s NMDA receptors – those known to play a role in treating depression. Memantine is chemically similar to ketamine, a drug best known for its recreational uses.