Memantine Has No Impact on Cognition in Down's Syndrome

Adults older than 40 with Down's syndrome do not benefit from treatment with memantine

TUESDAY, Jan. 10 (HealthDay News) -- Memantine does not prevent a decline in cognition or function in adults with Down's syndrome, according to a study published online Jan. 10 in The Lancet.

Marisa Hanney, Ph.D., of King's College London, and colleagues assessed changes in cognition in 173 adults with karyotypic or clinically diagnosed Down's syndrome (>40 years of age), with or without dementia, from the United Kingdom and Norway. Using a minimization algorithm to ensure balanced allocation for prognostic factors (sex, dementia, age group, total Down's syndrome attention, memory, and executive function [DAMES] scales, and location), participants were randomly allocated to receive memantine (88 patients) or placebo (85 patients) for 52 weeks. DAMES score and the adaptive behavior scale (ABS) parts I and II were used to assess changes in cognition and function.

The researchers found that patients in both the memantine and placebo groups declined in cognition and function during the study, but the rates did not differ between the groups for any outcomes. There were nonsignificant differences between the groups in favor of the control group in the DAMES and ABS I and II scores, after adjusting for baseline scores. Serious adverse events occurred in 11 and 7 percent of the memantine and control groups, respectively (P = 0.33), resulting in five and four deaths, respectively.

"Despite promising indications, memantine is not an effective treatment. Therapies that are effective for Alzheimer's disease are not necessarily effective in this group of patients," the authors write.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to pharmaceutical companies, including Lundbeck, which manufactures memantine and funded the study.

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