Memantine in the Treatment of Executive Function Deficits in Adults With ADHD

J Atten Disord. 2017 Feb;21(4):343-352. doi: 10.1177/1087054714538656. Epub 2016 Jul 28.


Objective: To evaluate the efficacy and safety of memantine hydrochloride as an adjunct to stimulant pharmacotherapy for treating executive function deficits (EFDs) in adults with ADHD.

Method: This was a 12-week, double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized clinical trial of memantine added to open-label treatment with stimulant medication. Because of the small sample size, we considered a standardized mean difference (equivalent to effect size) of ≥0.5 and odds ratios ≥2 as indicators of trend improvements.

Results: Twelve participants received memantine and 14 received a placebo. Trend improvements favoring memantine were observed on Behavior Rating Inventory of Executive Functions-Adult Inhibition and Self-Monitor subscales when compared with Placebo. No significant changes were noted on the Cambridge Neuropsychological Test Automated Battery.

Conclusion: Among adults with ADHD and EFDs, adjunct treatment with memantine to osmotic release oral system-methylphenidate (OROS-MPH) was associated with improvements in selective areas of executive functioning, supporting the need for further research.

Keywords: ADHD; adult; adult ADHD treatment; executive function deficits; memantine.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / drug therapy*
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / psychology
  • Central Nervous System Stimulants / administration & dosage*
  • Central Nervous System Stimulants / adverse effects
  • Delayed-Action Preparations
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Executive Function / drug effects*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Memantine / administration & dosage*
  • Memantine / adverse effects
  • Methylphenidate / administration & dosage
  • Methylphenidate / adverse effects
  • Middle Aged
  • Osmosis
  • Pilot Projects
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult


  • Central Nervous System Stimulants
  • Delayed-Action Preparations
  • Methylphenidate
  • Memantine