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The Glutamate Blocker Namenda

Discussion in 'Detox: Methylation; B12; Glutathione; Chelation' started by slayadragon, Jun 21, 2010.

  1. slayadragon

    slayadragon Senior Member

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    Yesterday I was talking to a recovering toxic mold victim. She brought up the idea that a drug called Namenda has been really helpful for her in terms of cognitive focus and energy.

    This is a glutamate blocker used for Alzheimer's.

    Has anyone here tried this drug? Does anyone have any comments about it?

    This person was fairly sick for a number of months after her mold exposure, but never actually had CFS. She's recovering well in a super-pristine house in rural Colorado.

    A comment from Dr. Amy Yasko is below. She says in another post that the idea of using this drug in children concerns her especially.

    Thanks for your comments!

    Best, Lisa

    *

    While I think that memantine has the potential to be a real positive in
    some instances, it also makes me a bit nervous. I think that I would
    reserve the use of memantine on a regular basis unless you had no other
    way to control excitotoxin damage.

    For those of you who do not know what we are talking about, memantine is
    new prescription medication that blocks activity at the NMDA glutamate
    receptor. It has shown some early promising results for Alzheimer's
    disease. It should be able to halt excitotoxin damage; however, it may
    also block neurotransmission that you do want to see. It is supposed to be
    a reversible blocker; however I have some concerns in that direction. I
    think it is worth considering for diseases like ALS or severe Alzheimer's
    however it does leave me concerned about trying it for autism , especially
    until there is more data on it to be certain that it's blocking ability
    really is completely reversible.
    heapsreal likes this.
  2. JamesK

    JamesK

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    I've looked at this drug before due to positive experiences with the NMDA blockers ketamine and dextromethorphan. Something with a similar mode of action but without the undesirable psychological effects would be very useful indeed.
  3. garcia

    garcia Aristocrat Extraordinaire

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    I'm going to be giving this drug a try since I have done well with NMDA-blocking substances in the past (e.g. Magnesium, Klonopin). Am also interested in trying amantadine. Will report back experiences hopefully.

    As an omen I picked up a copy of Scientific American the other day (as I do once in a while), and flicked through to a very interesting article on Alzheimer's treatment. And what word should I come upon? That's right, Namenda.
  4. garcia

    garcia Aristocrat Extraordinaire

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    James, can you possibly expand on your positive experiences with ketamine and/or dextromethorphan?
    Many thanks,
    garcia.
  5. xchocoholic

    xchocoholic Senior Member

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    Before trying this you may want to look at what Dogtorj has to say about glutamates. FWIW. I use theanine to help control the nocturnal myoclonus I get from gluten. Theanine works by calming glutamate receptors too. I've been taking this for a year and the only downside I've noticed is that I'm too calm or mentally sluggish so I'm looking at other options too .. I used Klonopin for 16 years to control this but really don't want to go back to taking something with so many known side effects. X

    http://www.forums.aboutmecfs.org/showthread.php?3565-Food-intolerance-by-a-vet
  6. dannybex

    dannybex Senior Member

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    Dr. Eric Braverman says that manganese (not magnesium) plus b6 are necessary to convert glutatamic acid (glutamate) into gaba, the calming 'cousin' of glutamine. He calls them the three amigos...glutamine, glutamic acid (glutamate) and gaba.

    He also suggests l-taurine can help lower glutamate levels. He has a few books out, but this one was called "The Healing Nutrients Within". You can probably get it from the library...?

    d.

    p.s. I agree x-choc -- Klonopin is a nasty drug. Makes you feel better, but the side effects from withdrawal, not to mention the fact that it is connected to anemia and low white blood cell count(!) makes it a no-no for me too. I tapered down and then switched to valium 2 years ago and am STILL tapering...and still have borderline anemia, something I DIDN'T have 12 years ago when it was first prescribed and so highly touted by Cheney.
    Little Bluestem likes this.
  7. slayadragon

    slayadragon Senior Member

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    I tried half a pill of the Namenda. The results were a headache and depression (lasted a few hours) and a rash on my neck. So I won't be using that one again!

    The Moldie that recommended this to me was quite ill before starting avoidance, and her symptoms were similar to a subset of mine, but she didn't have long-term true "Canadian Criteria" CFS. Many of us don't do well with medications, and I especially have not done well with most drugs (except Klonopin) that affect the neurotransmitters.

    I used to take l-theanine and found it to be a bit helpful in terms of promoting a calm "meditative" type state. I never found the amino acid GABA itself to be helpful though.

    I have a green tea supplement on hand. Theanine is the main ingredient in it, so maybe I'll give that a try.

    Recently I've been taking a whole lot of B6 (pyridoxal-5-phosphate). I was told a very long time ago by the folks at Pfeiffer that I had a problem with a condition they call pyroluria, which inclines people toward deficiencies in B6 and zinc. It's interesting that this might have a beneficial effect on the glutamate. I do feel relatively calm most of the time.

    I used to take manganese, a long time ago. I'm wondering recently if CFSers tend to be low on trace minerals in general, and that especially may be true of me since I have taken a boatload of cholestyramine over the past 2 1/2 years. I think it's time for me to get a really good multimineral supplement and see if it changes anything.

    Is lithium related to this? I started this after going to a hot spring with a big lithium content and finding that everyone there looked calm and happy. I certainly felt that way at the hot spring, and it's one supplement that really intuitively feels right to me. (I'm putting some info on it below.)

    Melatonin's also contributed to that sort of state for me too, I think. My brain has felt more lubricated since I've been taking it. I've not knowingly dreamed in years, and it's been shown (in large doses) to have truly protective effects against substances (such as phosphine) that kill through oxidative stress.

    I took Klonopin for about nine years for sleep. I once tried to get off it, just as an experiment, and suffered withdrawal symptoms. After several months of mold avoidance, I was able to taper off of it over a period of a few months without any withdrawal symptoms and without renewed severe sleep problems. Now my sleep is good, except when I'm getting a lot of mold exposure. So apparently something about the mold (probably the oxidative stress component) causes this glutamate problem. Which is what my Moldie friend said to begin with. She may be getting a bit more exposure than I am at this point.

    I'd actually forgotten that the Klonopin is related to the glutmate/GABA issue, and so now I have a better sense of what excess glutamate feels like. That's usually not my big problem now.

    I don't know if Klonopin had any other negative effects on my health during the years I was taking it. And Cheney certainly doesn't recommend it universally to his patients these days. But on balance, I tend to think it was a good thing for me. Sleep is important, and I never found anything natural that did enough to give me decent sleep during all those years.

    Also below is a comment by someone who had a bad experience with Namenda. This guy is a follower of Marty Pall and Jay Goldstein, but I can't believe he's a classic CFSer if he's taking all those drugs. Probably just a plain Moldie. So it doesn't work for all of them either.

    Thanks much, Lisa

    *

    Namenda was my biggest disappointment. I bought 4 bottles to get the bulk discount,
    since I was sure it'd work because everyone seems to like it so much. But I only
    used a fraction of a bottle. The muscarinic stimulation was more powerful than
    the NMDA antagonism, so it made my muscle tension worse. So I tried to counter
    the muscarinic effect with clonidine and trihexyphenidyl. No good. Can't take
    more than 200 mcg/day clonidine without getting dry mouth, and trihexyphenidyl
    just goes to the brain, while Namenda takes a pit-stop in the lungs on the way
    to the brain, thus giving me bronchoconstriction.

    Amantadine at 200 mg/day acts like amphetamines for a week, then it feels like
    I'm depleted of catecholamines and have to go through withdrawal (not fun) to
    recharge. 100 mg/day doesn't do anything on it's own, but does contribute to a
    stack. It can cause cornea damage.

    So that leaves rimantadine for NMDA antagonism. No side effects, but it's as
    weak as amantadine and very expensive.

    *

    From the Pure Encapsulations website:

    Lithium is an essential micronutrient with some chemical properties similar to calcium and magnesium. It is present in all organs and tissues in the body. Lithium has a long history of clinical use for supporting healthy mood and behavior. Mechanisms for this involve promoting dopamine and serotonin neurotransmitter activity. Lithium also plays a role in gene expression of natural detoxification enzymes in the brain, including glutathione-s-transferase (GST). This offers important neuron antioxidant protection, which may also contribute to healthy spatial memory. Lithium may support healthy brain receptor function and brain signaling cascades to maintain healthy mental function. N- acetyl-cysteine is a precursor to glutathione, the major antioxidant in the brain, and is added to this formula for enhanced protection of brain cell membranes.

    Lithium is an important element that plays a significant role in healthy mental function, including mood, emotion, memory and behavior.
  8. JamesK

    JamesK

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    I've had what I believe is CFS (my primary symptom is a full-body overwhelming fatigue/exhaustion/aching which limits me physically and mentally to roughly 30% of normal activity) since around 1997, with much of the time since then also filled with fairly severe depression / anxiety as well for good measure. It was back in 2003 that I first read of ketamine being cited as "the most effective agent for reducing ME/CFS symptoms" (J. Goldstein I believe) and so began my interest in NMDA/glutamergic agents.

    It wasn't until 2007 that I finally had the opportunity to try it (a friend had been able to acquire some "off the street"). My expectations from all I had read about its potential were confirmed in around 20 minutes of taking the first "line" (it was in powdered form). I felt as If I'd been dragged from the depths back to something approaching normal. My massive body load lifted, and I could move freely and easily without the aching I'd become accustomed to with every movement. Likewise, the depression was gone just as quickly and I felt alert, receptive and able to take in new information again.

    That one day was my only experience with ketamine, but the effects lasted well into the next 7 days. Absolutely no hangover, in fact the polar opposite - only positive effects lasted before gradually declining.

    This spurred me on to find a similar agent (ketamine is notoriously difficult to find) and a month or two later I came across dextromethorphan. At first I was obtaining it from cough syrups, which was hugely costly! The effects on my body and mind seemed well worth those on my wallet... I was more productive than I'd been in years over the couple of months I used it and although it wasn't the same as ketamine - it seemed "dirtier" - giving a drunken feeling at the doses required to give me relief, it was close enough and the alleviation of the fatigue and depression outweighed the side effects.

    Unfortunately the cost of cough syrups limiting my intake had actually been a good thing, because once I found a source of the pure powder my intake spiralled out of control and I was soon using huge, near fully anaesthetic doses every single day. This obviously took its toll on my psyche, and after a year or so of constant use / abuse I was in a pretty bad way mentally and had quite a few episodes of exhibiting very risky / dangerous behaviour from being so dissociated and in a near constant state of mild psychosis / mental retardation.

    I would recommend at least trying ketamine if the chance arises, or if not then DXM, but with the warning that they are very powerful agents (I read one user label DXM as a "chemical chainsaw", which, having had lengthy experience of higher doses I can wholly agree with), with properties which certain people can find highly addictive. Strict management at a lower dose (I was using 150-300mg DXM a day to begin with - 1 cough syrup bottle gave 150mg) shouldn't present too much of a problem however, and might just give the alleviation of symptoms that lets one lead a more satisfactory and productive life. I know that while using those 150-300mg doses I was seriously considering trying to find work again, having not worked for 3 years at that time.
    Mudhole likes this.
  9. August59

    August59 Daughters High School Graduation

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    Most of the articles that I've read about Namenda (memantine) have been for it's neuroprotective properties (other than what it is prescribed for). Quite a few people use it in low doses (5mg / day), espicially if they are ADD because it can offer pretty good protection for NMDA's calcium channels. Apparently the small amounts neurotoxins that are created when using Adderall (mixed salt amphetamines) really target this particular area. I don't recall anyone that was in the discussion commenting on any type of side effects due to the low dosage, but were pretty convinced that it was great way to protect the brain.
    Mudhole and heapsreal like this.
  10. garcia

    garcia Aristocrat Extraordinaire

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    Many thanks for your detailed post James.

    I tried Namenda, and didn't do well on it. I found it very rough on my system, and just felt "drugged up".
    heapsreal likes this.
  11. xrayspex

    xrayspex Senior Member

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    u.s.a.
    "robitripping"
    I imagine in small doses dxm safe, but I know of youth that o.d. on robitussin so caution
    heapsreal likes this.
  12. jeffrez

    jeffrez Senior Member

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    I tried memantine once and had some subtle ADD/cognitive improvements, but it left me feeling seizure-prone, like I was going to have a seizure any minute. That lasted for a couple of days, gradually diminishing, and I never tried it again.
  13. garcia

    garcia Aristocrat Extraordinaire

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    Actually come to think of it, I would describe my experiences as almost exactly the same, except without the cognitive improvements. Just did not feel right at all.
  14. JamesK

    JamesK

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    DXM isn't the problem there, it's the other ingredients in some cough syrups that can be fatal. The most infamous one being Coricidin. DXM is pretty safe, and in fact I've never read of any fatalities when used alone. I'd imagine a massive dose would simply put you into a coma for few days (which funnily enough is a novel treatment being used to treat RSD sufferers - using ketamine in that case however, not DXM)

    I've occasionally experienced that wired state, sometimes accompanied by strobing flashes when closing my eyes when using DXM. I think it must be something to do with the NMDA/GABA balance - glutamate being the chief excitory neurotransmitter, and GABA being the chief inhibitory. GABAergic agents are often used to dampen the excitory state in epileptics, and glutamate is also a precursor to GABA, so maybe agents that antagonize the effects of glutamate at NMDA receptor sites (like memantine does) also stop it from being converted to GABA and can therefore induce a somewhat epileptic-like state? I don't know...

    Interestingly, while looking up something on epilepsy there I came across this drug : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pregabalin. I'd heard of it before but I now notice that it works on both glutamate and GABA, and in fact was the first drug passed by the FDA for fibromyalgia. Something to think about for the future...

    As an aside, I tried some guaifenesin yesterday, which is reportedly also an NMDA antagonist (this thread has re-sparked my interest somewhat in them). It was a moderate dose, obtained from a mucus-relief syrup, but the unmistakable effects were present - anti-depressant, lightening of body load, and ability to exercise and actually feel good while doing it and afterwards. Any "drugged up" feelings were very minimal, however I did notice some mild cognitive impairment. I've got a larger supply in pill form on order, so I'll be able to evaluate it to a greater degree soon.
    heapsreal likes this.
  15. August59

    August59 Daughters High School Graduation

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    I used for a couple of months and noticed some mental clarity after a couple of weeks. I was only taking 5 mg. / day and was mostly using it from a neuroprotective standpoint.
    heapsreal likes this.
  16. leaves

    leaves Senior Member

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    any other suggestions to reduce glutamate? ive heard advil/ huperzine a/ riluzole, lamictal, donepezil/nac
    heapsreal likes this.
  17. heapsreal

    heapsreal iherb 10% discount code OPA989,

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    Old thread but noticed @August59 was the only one mentioning the dose he took. Would be interested to hear the doses of everone who used it. I wonder if the negative effects were related to maybe too higher dose for us cfsers.

    Ive been using for about a week so far and its not like stimulant or a downers. I find i have a calm energy from it, maybe its dopamine effects but also my brain fog(which im thinking is from inflammation) has gone from either lowering the nmda from being too high or anti inflammatory effects on tnf alpha, maybe other cytokines??

    Im only using 5mg but this is alot lower than its indicatored doses for other neurological illnesses.
    nmda antagonists are suppose to help lower benzo tolerance, this was something im persuing but to be honest im feeling much better from reducing the brain fog/inflammation. Its been known to help reverse neurological damage and is neuroprotective. So alot of bang for your buck in one pill.

    Im not saying its a wonder pill yet but will see how its going several months down the track.
    Little Bluestem likes this.
  18. adreno

    adreno 3% neanderthal

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    I was completely brainfogged on 5mg.
  19. heapsreal

    heapsreal iherb 10% discount code OPA989,

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    wow, im getting the opposite effects.
    Have u tried any other neurological type drugs not including ad's and benzo's.
    Maybe selegline or donepezil, or one of the dopamine agonists for restless legs eg bromocriptine??
  20. Thinktank

    Thinktank Senior Member

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    Very interesting stuff, strange i've never heard about it.

    Which benzo are you on at the moment? I've succesfully switched from clonazepam to diazepam and lowered the dose to 5mg in combination with a product called NOW calm which contains niacinamide which i think helps with the withdrawal symptoms, this stuff sounds very interesting to add to help with the withdrawal.Have you been able to reduce the dosage of your benzo whilst on namenda?

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