Effects of the NMDA antagonist memantine on human methamphetamine discrimination

by Hart CL, Haney M, Foltin RW, Fischman MW.
New York State Psychiatric Institute,
1051 Riverside Drive, Unit 120,
New York, NY 10032, USA,
[email protected]
Psychopharmacology (Berl) 2002 Dec;164(4):376-384


RATIONALE. The discriminative stimulus effects of N-methyl- D-aspartate (NMDA) antagonists have been assessed in laboratory animals. To date, no published study has assessed their ability to alter methamphetamine-related discriminative stimulus effects in humans.

OBJECTIVE. This study investigated the discriminative stimulus, subjective (e.g. “Good Drug Effect”), psychomotor performance, and cardiovascular effects (e.g. blood pressure) of oral methamphetamine following acute oral memantine (a non-competitive NMDA antagonist) in humans.

METHODS. Initially, participants were trained to discriminate 10 mg methamphetamine from placebo using a standard two-response procedure (drug versus placebo). Then, the effects of memantine (0, 40 mg) on methamphetamine discrimination were examined across several methamphetamine doses (0, 5, 10, 20 mg) using a novel-response procedure (drug versus placebo versus novel).

RESULTS. Following placebo pretreatment, 10 mg methamphetamine produced 99% methamphetamine-appropriate responding and placebo produced 75% placebo-appropriate responding. Following memantine pretreatment, participants responded as if they had been given a novel compound, although memantine did not significantly alter most subjective-effects ratings following methamphetamine. Memantine alone produced “positive” subjective effects and novel drug-appropriate responding.

CONCLUSION. These data indicate that the memantine-methamphetamine combination produced novel discriminative stimulus effects and that memantine produced some stimulant-like subjective effects.