An important interaction between opioid and dopamine systems has been indicated, and using opioids may negatively affect cognitive functioning. Memantine, a medication for Alzheimer's disease, increasingly is being used for several disorders and maybe important for cognitive improvement. Opioid-dependent patients undergoing methadone-maintenance-therapy (MMT) and healthy controls (HCs) were recruited. Patients randomly assigned to the experimental (5 mg/day memantine (MMT+M) or placebo (MMT+P) group: 57 in MMT+M, 77 in MMT+P. Those completed the cognitive tasks at the baseline and after the 12-week treatment were analyzed. Thirty-seven age- and gender-matched HCs, and 42 MMT+P and 39 MMT+M patients were compared. The dropout rates were 49.4% in the MMT+P and 26.3% in the MMT+M. Both patient groups' cognitive performances were significantly worse than that of the HCs. After the treatment, both patient groups showed improved cognitive performance. We also found an interaction between the patient groups and time which indicated that the MMT+M group's post-treatment improvement was better than that of the MMT+P group. Memantine, previously reported as neuroprotective may attenuate chronic opioid-dependence-induced cognitive decline. Using such low dose of memantine as adjuvant treatment for improving cognitive performance in opioid dependents; the dose of memantine might be a worthy topic in future studies.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes