Namzaric (Memantine and Donepezil) - Oral

What Is Namzaric?

Namzaric is an oral medication used to treat moderate to severe dementia in adults with Alzheimer's. Namzaric contains two drugs—memantine hydrochloride and donepezil hydrochloride.

Memantine belongs to a group of drugs called NMDA receptor antagonists. It works by blocking abnormal signaling in the brain. Donepezil is an acetylcholinesterase inhibitor. It works by increasing levels of a natural brain chemical called acetylcholine. Researchers believe that low levels of acetylcholine contribute to Alzheimer's symptoms.

Drug Facts

Generic Name: Memantine and donepezil

Brand Name(s): Namzaric

Drug Availability: Prescription

Therapeutic Classification: NMDA receptor antagonist, acetylcholinesterase inhibitor

Available Generically: No

Controlled Substance: No

Administration Route: Oral

Active Ingredient: Memantine and donepezil

Dosage Form(s): Oral capsule

What Is Namzaric Used For?

Namzaric is an oral medication used to treat moderate to severe dementia in adults with Alzheimer's.

Alzheimer's disease affects about 1 in 9 people age 65 and older in the United States and is the most common cause of dementia. Alzheimer's disease is a progressive brain disorder, which means it gets worse over time. Early symptoms may include trouble remembering recent conversations, names, or events; lack of interest; and depression. As the disease progresses, symptoms may include:

  • Trouble communicating
  • Confusion
  • Poor judgment
  • Trouble bathing, dressing, or going to the bathroom
  • Incontinence
  • Agitation and suspiciousness
  • Behavioral changes
  • Difficulty speaking, swallowing, and walking

While there is no cure for Alzheimer's, medications like Namzaric may help improve symptoms or slow the progression of the disease, but they will not prevent symptoms from getting worse in the future.

How to Take Namzaric

Namzaric is taken once daily at bedtime, with or without food. The capsules should be swallowed whole without dividing, crushing, or chewing. Namzaric may be opened and sprinkled on applesauce for people who have difficulty swallowing capsules. Swallow the applesauce mixture without chewing.

Before starting Namzaric, your healthcare provider will prescribe Aricept (donepezil)—one of the medications in Namzaric. You'll need to be stable on 10 milligrams (mg) of Aricept before switching to Namzaric.

Storage

Store Namzaric at room temperature in a tightly closed container protected from light. Do not store it in the bathroom. Keep Namzaric and all of your medicines in a safe location, out of the reach of children and pets.

How Long Does Namzaric Take to Work?

Namzaric takes time to work. Participants in clinical trials noticed the most significant improvement in their symptoms after 12 weeks of treatment. 

What Are the Side Effects of Namzaric?

This is not a complete list of side effects, and others may occur. A healthcare provider can advise you on side effects. If you experience other effects, contact your pharmacist or healthcare provider. You may report side effects to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) at fda.gov/medwatch or 800-FDA-1088.

Common Side Effects

Common side effects of Namzaric may include but may not be limited to:

  • Headache
  • Diarrhea
  • Dizziness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Bruising

Severe Side Effects

Contact your healthcare provider immediately if you develop any signs of a severe reaction. Call 911 if your symptoms feel life-threatening.

Severe side effects of Namzaric may include but may not be limited to:

  • Muscle problems during surgery. Be sure to inform your surgeon about all your medicines, including Namzaric.
  • A slow heart rate and fainting, especially in people with heart problems
  • Stomach ulcers and bleeding in the stomach or intestines. People who take aspirin or NSAIDs or have had an ulcer in the past are at an increased risk. Tell your healthcare provider if you develop bloody vomiting or vomit that looks like coffee grounds, blood in your stool, stools that look black or tarry, or abdominal pain.
  • Nausea and vomiting that last for several weeks
  • Trouble urinating
  • Seizures
  • Worsening lung problems in people with asthma or other lung conditions

Report Side Effects

Namzaric may cause other side effects. Call your healthcare provider if you have any unusual problems while taking this medication.

If you experience a serious side effect, you or your provider may send a report to the FDA's MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting Program online or by phone (800-332-1088).

Dosage: How Much Namzaric Should I Take?

Drug Content Provided and Reviewed by IBM Micromedex®

The dose of this medicine will be different for different patients. Follow your doctor's orders or the directions on the label. The following information includes only the average doses of this medicine. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so.

The amount of medicine that you take depends on the strength of the medicine. Also, the number of doses you take each day, the time allowed between doses, and the length of time you take the medicine depend on the medical problem for which you are using the medicine.

  • For oral dosage form (delayed-release capsules):
    • For moderate to severe Alzheimer's disease:
      • Adults—One capsule once a day at bedtime.
      • Children—Use and dose must be determined by your doctor.

Modifications

The following modifications should be kept in mind when using Namzaric:

Severe allergic reaction: Avoid using Namzaric if you have a known allergy to it or any of its ingredients, including Aricept (donepezil) and Namenda (memantine). Ask your pharmacist or healthcare provider for a complete list of the ingredients if you're unsure.

Pregnancy: In animal studies, Namzaric was found to have harmful effects on the fetus. We don't know enough about the safety and effectiveness of Namzaric in pregnant people and their unborn fetuses. Let your healthcare provider know if you're pregnant or plan to become pregnant, and discuss the benefits and risks of taking Namzaric during your pregnancy.

Breastfeeding: We don't know enough about the safety of Namzaric in human breast milk and nursing babies. Talk with your healthcare provider if you plan to breastfeed, and discuss the benefits and risks of taking Namzaric while nursing and the different ways to feed your baby.

Adults over 65: Most participants in the clinical trials for Namzaric were older than 65. No significant safety or side effect differences were found in people over 65 versus younger adults.

Children: Namzaric is not approved to treat children.

Kidney problems: Individuals with kidney problems may not be able to clear medication from their bodies as easily. This means the medicine stays in the body longer and can have increased side effects. For this reason, your healthcare provider will likely not prescribe Namzaric beyond a specific dose if you have severe kidney impairment.

Administration modifications: Namzaric may be opened and sprinkled on applesauce for people who have difficulty swallowing capsules. The applesauce mixture should be swallowed without chewing. Be sure to empty the entire contents of the Namaric capsule onto the applesauce. Do not divide the dose.

Missed Dose

If you accidentally forgot your Namzaric dose, take the following dose at your next scheduled dosing time. Don't double up or take extra to make up for the missed dose.

Try to help yourself remember to keep your appointments and take your medication routinely. If you miss too many doses, Namzaric might be less effective at treating your condition.

Overdose: What Happens If I Take Too Much Namzaric?

The symptoms of a Namzaric overdose may include but are not limited to:

  • Agitation
  • Weakness
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Excessive sweating or salivation
  • Slowed heart rate
  • Confusion
  • Dizziness
  • Increased or decreased blood pressure
  • Vertigo
  • Tiredness
  • Restlessness
  • Slowed movements
  • Trouble walking
  • Hallucinations
  • Psychosis
  • Slowed breathing
  • Seizures
  • Coma

If you think you're experiencing an overdose or life-threatening symptoms, seek immediate medical attention.

What Happens If I Overdose on Namzaric?

If you think you or someone else may have overdosed on Namzaric, call a healthcare provider or the Poison Control Center (800-222-1222).

If someone collapses or isn't breathing after taking Namzaric, call 911 immediately.

Precautions

Drug Content Provided and Reviewed by IBM Micromedex®

It is important that your doctor check your progress at regular visits. This is necessary to allow dose adjustments and to reduce any unwanted effects.

Before you have any kind of surgery, dental treatment, or emergency treatment, tell the medical doctor or dentist in charge that you are using this medicine. Taking memantine and donepezil combination together with certain medicines that are used during surgery or dental or emergency treatments may increase the effects of those medicines and cause unwanted effects.

Tell you doctor right away if you have bloody or black tarry stools, constipation, severe stomach pain, or vomiting of blood or material that looks like coffee grounds. These may be symptoms of stomach or bowel bleeding.

Some people who have used this medicine developed problems such as nausea, severe vomiting, loss of appetite, diarrhea, and weight loss. Talk with your doctor before using this medicine if you have any concerns.

If you think that you or someone else may have taken an overdose of this medicine, get emergency help at once. Taking an overdose of this medicine may cause convulsions (seizures) or serious effects on your heart and your breathing. Signs of overdose include increased watering of mouth, increased sweating, low blood pressure, muscle weakness, severe nausea, severe vomiting, slow heartbeat, and troubled breathing.

Do not take other medicines unless they have been discussed with your doctor. This includes prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter [OTC]) medicines and herbal or vitamin supplements.

What Are Reasons I Shouldn’t Take Namzaric?

Do not take Namzaric if you:

  • Are allergic to Namzaric or any of its ingredients, including Aricept (donepezil) and Namenda (memantine), or medicines that contain piperidines.

What Other Medications Interact With Namzaric?

Use caution when taking Namzaric with the following medications:

  • Diamox (acetazolamide)
  • Sodium bicarbonate
  • Osmolex ER (amantadine)
  • Ketamine
  • Robitussin (dextromethorphan)
  • Certain HIV medications
  • Biaxin (clarithromycin) 
  • Nizoral (ketoconazole) 
  • Nefazodone 
  • Noxafil (posaconazole)
  • Sporanox (itraconazole)
  • Vfend (voriconazole)
  • Wellbutrin (bupropion)
  • Prozac (fluoxetine)
  • Paxil (paroxetine)
  • Quinidine
  • Tegretol (carbamazepine)
  • Phenobarbital
  • Dilantin (phenytoin)
  • Mysoline (primidone)
  • Rifadin (rifampin)
  • Elavil (amitriptyline)
  • Atropisol (atropine)
  • Clozaril (clozapine)
  • Bentyl (dicyclomine)
  • Silenor (doxepin)
  • Thioridazine
  • Detrol (tolterodine)
  • Chlorpromazine
  • Benadryl (diphenhydramine)
  • Pamelor (nortriptyline)
  • Zyprexa (olanzapine)
  • Ditropan XL (oxybutynin)
  • Quelicin (succinylcholine) and other paralytic medications used during surgery
  • Duvoid (bethanechol)

Other medications may interact with Namzaric. Inform your healthcare provider about all the medicines you take, including over-the-counter, nonprescription products, vitamins, and herbal supplements.

What Medications Are Similar?

Namzaric is the only medication that combines two Alzheimer's medicines into one capsule. Namzaric contains donepezil (an acetylcholinesterase inhibitor) and memantine (an NMDA receptor antagonist). Other medicines in these drug classes include:

Acetylcholinesterase inhibitors:

  • Aricept (donepezil)
  • Razadyne ER (galantamine)
  • Exelon (rivastigmine)

NMDA receptor antagonists:

Choosing a treatment strategy will depend on your symptoms, other medical conditions, and side effects. You and your healthcare provider will work together to select the best option for you.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is Namzaric used for?

    Namzaric is used to treat moderate to severe dementia in adults with Alzheimer's disease.

  • How does Namzaric work?

    Namzaric contains two medicines: donepezil and memantine. Donepezil works by increasing levels of a natural brain chemical called acetylcholine. People with Alzheimer's disease have reduced levels of acetylcholine. Memantine works by blocking abnormal brain activity.

  • What are the side effects of Namzaric?

    The most common side effects include headache, diarrhea, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, and bruising.

How Can I Stay Healthy While Taking Namzaric?

If a loved one has started taking Namzaric, the symptoms of Alzheimer's disease have likely begun to impact their quality of life. While caring for a loved one with Alzheimer's can be challenging, there are ways to help make your day-to-day life easier. Refer below for some general tips:

  • Establish a daily routine, but be flexible. Specific tasks may take longer than they used to.
  • Limit napping during the day. This can help prevent confusing day for night.
  • Install safety measures around the house as needed, including protective covers on the stove knobs, locks on cabinets that contain anything dangerous, and electrical outlet safety plugs.
  • Ensure the house is tidy and free of any clutter that could pose a trip hazard.
  • Consider joining a dementia caregiver support group that can help provide advice, resources, and coping strategies.
  • Ask for help. Being a caregiver can sometimes feel overwhelming, but asking for help is essential for maintaining your well-being. 

Medical Disclaimer

Verywell Health's drug information is meant for educational purposes only and is not intended as a replacement for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from a healthcare provider. Consult your healthcare provider before taking any new medication(s). IBM Watson Micromedex provides some of the drug content, as indicated on the page.

5 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. DailyMed. Namzaric - memantine hydrochloride and donepezil hydrochloride capsule.

  2. Alzheimer's Association. 2022 Alzheimer's disease facts and figures.

  3. MedlinePlus. Donepezil.

  4. MedlinePlus. Memantine.

  5. Breijyeh Z, Karaman R. Comprehensive review on Alzheimer's disease: causes and treatmentMolecules. 2020;25(24):5789. Published 2020 Dec 8. doi:10.3390/molecules25245789

By Christina Varvatsis, PharmD
Christina Varvatsis is a hospital pharmacist and freelance medical writer. She is passionate about helping individuals make informed healthcare choices by understanding the benefits and risks of their treatment options.