Evidence for alcohol anti-craving properties of memantine

Eur J Pharmacol. 1996 Oct 31;314(3):R1-2. doi: 10.1016/s0014-2999(96)00670-x.


Rats consuming alcohol voluntarily for a long time show increased alcohol consumption after a phase of alcohol deprivation and this might reflect increased craving for alcohol. Administration of memantine (1-amino-3,5-dimethyl-adamantane), a clinically used uncompetitive NDMA receptor antagonist, resulted in a significant reduction of the alcohol deprivation effect without any sedative, dysphoric or stimulant side-effects. The dose of memantine used (4.8 mg/day) resulted in serum levels close to the therapeutic range in humans. These results indicate that memantine may have therapeutical potential as an anti-craving drug for alcohol.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alcoholism / drug therapy*
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Animals
  • Choice Behavior / drug effects*
  • Excitatory Amino Acid Antagonists / adverse effects
  • Excitatory Amino Acid Antagonists / therapeutic use*
  • Male
  • Memantine / adverse effects
  • Memantine / therapeutic use*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Receptors, N-Methyl-D-Aspartate / antagonists & inhibitors*


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