Authors: Tocco M, Bayles K, Lopez OL, Hofbauer RK, Pejovic V, Miller ML, Saxton J
Title: Effects of memantine treatment on language abilities and functional communication: A review of data
Source: Aphasiology 2014 28(2): 236-257
Year: 2014
Research Design: Systematic Review

Background: Impairment in language abilities occurs in a number of neurological conditions, including Alzheimer's disease (AD) and other dementias, primary progressive aphasia, multiple sclerosis and stroke. Currently, no pharmacotherapy is approved for aphasia of any aetiology. Memantine, an antagonist of N-methyl-D-aspartate glutamate receptors that is approved for the treatment of moderate-to-severe AD, has shown promising results on several measures of language and communication in clinical trials. Aims: This review summarises the knowledge gathered from prospective studies and post hoc analyses involving patients with AD and other neurological conditions in whom the effects of memantine treatment on language or communication have been examined. Main Contribution: PubMed searches yielded a total of four prospective studies and three post hoc analyses that assessed the effects of memantine on language and communication in AD (one additional post hoc analysis was published as a conference proceeding only), together with seven prospective studies in other conditions (Parkinson's disease, frontotemporal lobe degeneration, chronic post-stroke aphasia, primary progressive aphasia, multiple sclerosis, risk of dementia). Available data suggest that memantine provides modest language and communication benefits in patients with moderate-to-severe AD; potential benefits in Parkinson's disease and post-stroke aphasia were also observed. Conclusions: Memantine may provide clinical benefits in language and communication in AD and other neurological conditions. Since communication problems create a significant burden for patients and their caregivers, larger prospective trials, conducted to provide more precise estimates of benefits in that domain, are merited.

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