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Memantine reduces stealing behavior and impulsivity in kleptomania: a pilot study

Grant, Jon E.a; Odlaug, Brian L.a,c; Schreiber, Liana R.N.b; Chamberlain, Samuel R.d; Won Kim, Suckb

International Clinical Psychopharmacology: March 2013 - Volume 28 - Issue 2 - p 106–111
doi: 10.1097/YIC.0b013e32835c8c8c
Original Articles

Kleptomania is characterized by repetitive stealing behavior and has been associated with deleterious unwanted outcomes including forensic contact and increased rates of suicidal behavior. Very few trials have been conducted to investigate pharmacological treatment options for this neglected condition. Memantine is an NMDA-receptor antagonist that has shown promising results in the treatment of other behavioral addictions and substance addictions. Twelve individuals with kleptomania received memantine (10 mg/day, titrated to 30 mg/day maximum depending on clinical response and tolerability) over the course of 8 weeks, in an open-label trial. The effects of treatment were quantified using well-validated measures and select neurocognitive tests (last observation carried forward analyses). Kleptomania disease severity scores decreased across all measures considered, and 11 (91.7%) of the participants met the responder criteria (35% improvement on the primary effectiveness measure plus CGI improved/very much improved; significant improvements were also observed in terms of mood, anxiety, and disability scores along with a significant improvement in stop-signal response inhibition. Memantine was generally well tolerated. This study shows the effectiveness of memantine in reducing urges to shoplift and shoplifting behavior along with improving impulsivity, mood, anxiety, and psychosocial functioning.

aDepartment of Psychiatry & Behavioral Neuroscience, University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois

bDepartment of Psychiatry, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA

cDepartment of Public Health, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark

dDepartment of Psychiatry & MRC/Wellcome Trust Behavioural and Clinical Neurosciences Institute, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK

Correspondence to Jon E. Grant, JD, MD, MPH, Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Neuroscience, University of Chicago, 5841 South Maryland Avenue, MC 3077, Chicago, Illinois 60637, USA Tel: +1 773 834 1325; fax: +1 773 834 6761; e-mail:

Received October 5, 2012

Accepted November 12, 2012

© 2013 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.