A retrospective study of memantine in children and adolescents with pervasive developmental disorders

Craig A. Erickson, David J. Posey, Kimberly A. Stigler, Jennifer Mullett, Adrian R. Katschke, Christopher J. McDougle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

103 Scopus citations


Rationale: There are no drugs that have been shown to effectively treat the core social impairment of autism. Objectives: The purpose of this study was to examine the effectiveness and tolerability of memantine for social impairment in children and adolescents with pervasive developmental disorders (PDDs). Materials and methods: Medical records of 18 patients with PDDs consecutively treated with open-label memantine were retrospectively reviewed. The data reviewed included prospectively obtained assessments of severity (S) and improvement (I) using the Clinical Global Impressions Scale (CGI). Pretrial and follow-up parent ratings were also available on six patients using the Aberrant Behavior Checklist (ABC). Results: Eighteen patients (15 male, 3 female; mean age=11.4 years, range 6-19 years) received memantine (mean dosage=10.1 mg/day, range 2.5-20 mg/day) over a mean duration of 19.3 weeks (range 1.5-56 weeks). Eleven of 18 (61%) patients were judged responders to memantine based on a rating of "much improved" or "very much improved" on the CGI-I. Significant improvement was also seen on the CGI-S. Improvement was primarily seen clinically in social withdrawal and inattention. Adverse effects occurred in 7 of 18 (39%) patients and led to drug discontinuation in 4 of 18 (22%) patients. Thirteen of 18 (72%) patients received stable doses of concomitant medications during the memantine trial. Conclusions: In this open-label retrospective study, memantine was effective in a number of patients with PDDs. Controlled studies are warranted to further assess the efficacy and safety of memantine in PDDs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)141-147
Number of pages7
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 2007



  • Attention
  • Autism
  • Development
  • Glutamate
  • Human
  • Memantine
  • NMDA
  • Open-label trial
  • Pervasive developmental disorder
  • Social impairment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology

Cite this

Erickson, C. A., Posey, D. J., Stigler, K. A., Mullett, J., Katschke, A. R., & McDougle, C. J. (2007). A retrospective study of memantine in children and adolescents with pervasive developmental disorders. Psychopharmacology, 191(1), 141-147. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00213-006-0518-9