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

Jon E. Grant, Brian L. Odlaug, Liana R.N. Schreiber, Samuel R. Chamberlain, Suck Won Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)106-111
Number of pages6
JournalInternational Clinical Psychopharmacology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2013


  • impulse control disorder
  • kleptomania
  • psychopharmacology
  • treatment


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