Re: Namenda for Autism?
Namenda is a new drug, an NMDA receptor antagonist, targetted to the Alzheimer's population. The drug manufacturer has some literature on Nameda's effectiveness & side effects, over the relatively short term, with the target population. However, there aren't easily accessible studies on the long term use of Namenda, even with the Alzheimer's group.
Apparently there has been one study of a group of 30 kids w/autism, who were tried on Namenda. I don't have the details of the study other than it was a relatively simple design, not a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blinded experimental design. If you've got the study documentation, great. If not, perhaps your doc's office staff will help you obtain it. With such a new drug, and with the extremely off-label prescribing (drug is not approved either for children or for autism) I'd want to talk to the study's investigators myself. First & foremost I'd want to know whether this study was funded by the drug company, and what the investigators' relationship to the drug manufacturer is.
Namenda's general drug class, NMDA receptor antagonists, can be researched. See if you like what you read. One interesting search would be to see what the phrase "NMDA receptor antagonist-induced" drags up. I'd also be interested in finding out how long-term administration of NMDA receptor antagonists affects juvenile animals. A public library reference librarian could help you with this if you have difficulty finding information.
I'm very cautious with the use of psych meds in young children. You don't mention your child's age, but the younger the child, the more reason for caution, IMO. Each person has his/her own bias about autism treatments, & I'm disclosing mine to you, so you can take what I say in that context.
The active ingredient of Namenda, memantine, has been studied in rats. A single dose of memantine caused lesions in several parts of the rats' brains. Does memantine do this in humans? We don't know one way or another. Stay tuned, when older Alzheimer patients on this drug pass away & are autopsied, we may know more.
There are a number of drugs that, while still being Rxd off label for autistic kids, do have at least a fair bit of clinical experience behind the prescribing. For the sake of fairness, and of comparison, you may want to ask your doc about those other meds, and research them.
Have you tried other therapies & meds for your child, or would Namenda be your child's first therapeutic experience?