There are a couple of reasons why I don’t write much about specific medications for obsessive-compulsive disorder. For one, it is debatable whether any of the many medications my son took ever helped him overcome or deal with his OCD, so I’m not particularly “gung-ho” when it comes to meds. Secondly, I know that the issue of medication is very personal – not only whether to try medications, but which ones? It is such an individual thing. I want to make it clear that I’m not against medication for OCD; I’ve heard from too many people who have been helped by certain drugs. It’s just that because I can only speak about my son’s experiences, I often come across as negative.
That being said, I do like to keep my readers well-informed, and I’ve recently been seeing information about memantine (Namenda) popping up here and there. It’s not a new drug; it’s a glutamate-targeting medication that is typically used to treat dementia. It appears to have few, if any, side effects. This article on the International OCD Foundation website talks about Namenda and other medications that show promising results for treating OCD. In general, these drugs are used in combination with SSRIs, which are the standard medications prescribed for obsessive-compulsive disorder.
As I’ve said, some studies have shown positive results. What is more interesting to me, however, are the many anecdotal stories I’ve heard; first-person success stories when this medication is added to an SSRI. I don’t want to give the impression that Namenda is a miracle drug, because it isn’t. But still, it might be helpful.
As far as I know (and I think I would’ve heard) there is still no “quick fix” or “magic pill,” to treat OCD. I know it’s difficult for those who are suffering greatly right now, but we need to be patient. And we need to remember that we are fortunate that effective treatment does indeed exist. Exposure and response prevention (ERP) therapy is not easy, but it works. So while dedicated researchers work to uncover the mysteries of OCD, those with obsessive-compulsive disorder can also move forward and dedicate themselves to getting well. Both of these are surefire ways to beat OCD.