Memantine increases cardiovascular but not behavioral effects of cocaine in methadone-maintained humans
Previous work has suggested that maintenance on the noncompetitive N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) antagonist, memantine, increased the subjective effects of smoked cocaine in experienced cocaine users. To determine whether this phenomenon occurs in opioid-dependent individuals, eight (seven male, one female) methadone-maintained cocaine smokers participated in a 47-day inpatient and outpatient study to assess the effects of memantine on smoked cocaine self-administration, subjective effects, and cardiovascular responses. The participants were maintained on memantine (0 mg and 20 mg daily) for 7-10 days prior to laboratory testing, using a double-blind crossover design. Under each medication condition during inpatient phases, participants smoked a sample dose of cocaine base (0, 12, 25, and 50 mg) once, and were subsequently given five choice opportunities, 14 min apart, to self-administer that dose of cocaine or receive a merchandise voucher (US 5.00 dollars). Each cocaine dose was tested twice under each medication condition, and the order of medication condition and cocaine dose were varied systematically. Memantine maintenance did not alter the subjective or reinforcing effects of cocaine. Several cardiovascular responses, however, including peak and initial diastolic pressures following cocaine, were significantly greater during memantine maintenance, although these elevations were not clinically significant. Taken together, these findings corroborate earlier data suggesting that this dose of memantine will not be helpful in the pharmacotherapy of cocaine abuse.