Active Substance: memantine hydrochloride
Common Name: memantine
ATC Code: N06DX01
Marketing Authorisation Holder: Ratiopharm GmbH
Active Substance: memantine hydrochloride
Authorisation Date: 2013-06-13
Therapeutic Area: Alzheimer Disease
Pharmacotherapeutic Group: Psychoanaleptics
Treatment of patients with moderate to severe Alzheimer’s disease
What is Memantine ratiopharm and what is it used for?
Memantine ratiopharm is a medicine that contains the active substance memantine hydrochloride. It is used to treat patients with moderate to severe Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s disease is a type of dementia (a brain disorder) that gradually affects memory, intellectual ability and behaviour.
Memantine ratiopharm is a ‘generic medicine’. This means that Memantine ratiopharm is similar to a ‘reference medicine’ already authorised in the European Union (EU) called Ebixa.
How is Memantine ratiopharm used?
Memantine ratiopharm is available as tablets (5 mg, 10 mg, 15 mg and 20 mg) and can only be obtained with a prescription.
Treatment should be started and supervised by a doctor who has experience in the diagnosis and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. Treatment should only be started if a caregiver is available who will regularly monitor the use of Memantine ratiopharm by the patient.
Memantine ratiopharm should be given once a day at the same time every day. To prevent side effects, the dose of Memantine ratiopharm is gradually increased over the first three weeks of treatment: during the first week, the dose is 5 mg; in the second week, it is 10 mg; and during the third week, it is 15 mg. From week four onwards, the recommended maintenance dose is 20 mg once a day. The tolerance and dose should be assessed within three months after starting treatment, and from then on the benefits of continuing treatment with Memantine ratiopharm should be re-assessed on a regular basis. The dose may need to be reduced in patients who have moderate or severe problems with their kidneys.
For more information, see the package leaflet.
How does Memantine ratiopharm work?
The active substance in Memantine ratiopharm, memantine hydrochloride, is an antidementia medicine. The cause of Alzheimer’s disease is unknown, but memory loss in the disease is believed to be due to a disturbance of message signals in the brain.
Memantine works by blocking special types of receptor called N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptors, to which the neurotransmitter glutamate normally attaches. Neurotransmitters are chemicals in the nervous system that allow nerve cells to communicate with one another. Changes in the way glutamate transmits signals within the brain have been linked to the memory loss seen in Alzheimer’s disease. In addition, overstimulation of the NMDA receptors can result in cell damage or death. By blocking NMDA receptors, memantine improves the transmission of signals in the brain and reduces the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease.
How has Memantine ratiopharm been studied?
Because Memantine ratiopharm is a generic medicine, studies in patients have been limited to tests to determine that it is bioequivalent to the reference medicine, Ebixa. Two medicines are bioequivalent when they produce the same levels of the active substance in the body.
What are the benefits and risks of Memantine ratiopharm?
Because Memantine ratiopharm is a generic medicine and is bioequivalent to the reference medicine, its benefits and risks are taken as being the same as the reference medicine’s.
Why is Memantine ratiopharm approved?
The Agency’s Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) concluded that, in accordance with EU requirements, Memantine ratiopharm has been shown to have comparable quality and to be bioequivalent to Ebixa. Therefore, the CHMP’s view was that, as for Ebixa, the benefit outweighs the identified risk. The Committee recommended that Memantine ratiopharm be approved for use in the EU.
What measures are being taken to ensure the safe and effective use of Memantine ratiopharm?
Safety information has been included in the summary of product characteristics and the package leaflet for Memantine ratiopharm, including the appropriate precautions to be followed by healthcare professionals and patients.
Other information about Memantine ratiopharm
The European Commission granted a marketing authorisation valid throughout the European Union for Memantine ratiopharm on 13 June 2013.
For more information about treatment with Memantine ratiopharm, read the package leaflet (also part of the EPAR) or contact your doctor or pharmacist.