A pilot open label prospective study of memantine monotherapy in adults with ADHD

World J Biol Psychiatry. 2013 May;14(4):291-8. doi: 10.3109/15622975.2011.623716. Epub 2012 Mar 22.


Objectives: Available pharmacotherapies treat some adults with ADHD inadequately. A small literature suggests that glutamate modulation could have effects on ADHD.

Methods: Memantine, an N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) receptor antagonist, was titrated to a maximum dose of 10 mg BID in 34 adult subjects aged 18-55 who met DSM-IV criteria for ADHD or ADHD NOS on structured interview. Twenty-eight subjects completed 12 weeks exposure. The Adult ADHD Investigator Symptom Report (AISRS), Clinical Global Impression (CGI), a neuropsychological battery sensitive to domains of executive function, and the CANTAB cognitive battery were administered. Paired t-tests compared treated and baseline scores.

Results: At week 12, AISRS data showed reduction in total symptoms (-17.5, P < 0.001), inattentive symptoms (-10.6, P < 0.001), and hyperactive symptoms (-6.9, P < 0.01). A total of 44% of subjects had CGI ratings of much or very much improved. Cognitive performance improved in measures of attention, working memory, and other selected executive domains by weeks 6 and 12 (each P < 0.05); simple reaction time declined by week 12 (P < 0.05). There were no severe adverse events, but mild adverse events were common and six subjects discontinued due to adverse effects.

Conclusions: Memantine was largely well-tolerated and associated with improvement in ADHD symptoms and neuropsychological performance. Randomized studies are indicated to confirm whether memantine is a novel therapy for ADHD across the lifespan.

Publication types

  • Observational Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / drug therapy*
  • Excitatory Amino Acid Antagonists / therapeutic use*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Memantine / therapeutic use*
  • Middle Aged
  • Pilot Projects
  • Prospective Studies
  • Receptors, N-Methyl-D-Aspartate / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult


  • Excitatory Amino Acid Antagonists
  • Receptors, N-Methyl-D-Aspartate
  • Memantine