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A placebo controlled trial of memantine as an adjunct to oral naltrexone for opioid dependence.

Author(s): Bisaga A, Sullivan MA, Cheng WY, Carpenter KM, Mariani JJ, Levin FR, Raby WN, Nunes EV

Affiliation(s): Department of Psychiatry, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York, NY, USA. amb107@columbia.edu

Publication date & source: 2011-12-01, Drug Alcohol Depend., 119(1-2):e23-9. Epub 2011 Jun 28.

Publication type: Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

BACKGROUND: Preclinical findings suggest that the inhibition of NMDA glutamatergic neurotransmission may have beneficial effects in the treatment of opioid dependence. AIMS: We hypothesized that memantine, a low-potency, uncompetitive NMDA receptor antagonist, would be safe and effective when used as an adjunct to oral naltrexone in the treatment of opioid dependence, particularly in preventing relapse to opiate use in detoxified individuals. METHODS: Opioid-dependent participants (N=112) were enrolled. Following detoxification all participants were inducted onto oral naltrexone and were randomized to receive memantine 15 mg bid (N=27), memantine 30 mg bid (N=27) or placebo (N=27) for 12-weeks in combination with naltrexone 50mg/day and individual relapse-prevention therapy. The primary outcome was the retention in treatment since treatment dropout is most commonly associated with relapse to opiate use. RESULTS: Twenty-six percent of participants withdrew from treatment prior to starting naltrexone. Of those that were randomized 35% completed 4 weeks only, and 24% completed all 12 weeks of treatment. There was no significant difference in treatment retention or heroin use, opiate withdrawal symptoms and craving between the groups treated with memantine vs. placebo. CONCLUSION: Thus, the efficacy of memantine 30 or 60 mg/day as an adjunct to oral naltrexone for the treatment of opiate dependence was not supported. Copyright (c) 2011 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.

Page last updated: 2011-12-09

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