SARS-CoV-2 infection in patients with serious mental illness and possible benefits of prophylaxis with Memantine and Amantadine

Vol. 61 No. 4, 2020


Ileana Marinescu, Dragos Marinescu, Laurentiu Mogoanta, Ion Cristian Efrem, Puiu Olivian Stovicek

Patients with serious mental illness are a high-risk category of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection. Patients with schizophrenia are not participatory and have increased mortality and morbidity, patients with dementia cannot be cared for while depression, anxiety, bipolar tubing are associated with low immune status. Social stress is amplified by social isolation, amplifying depression and the mechanisms of decreased immunity. Hygiene measures and prophylactic behavior are impossible to put into practice in conditions of chronic mental illness. In coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), the risk for severe development is associated with the presence of comorbidities and immune system deficiency. Prothrombotic status, cytokine storm and alveolar destruction are mechanisms that aggravate the evolution of patients, especially in the context in which they have dysfunction of the autonomic system. The activity of proinflammatory cytokines is accentuated by hyperglutamatergia, which potentiates oxidative stress and triggers the mechanisms of neural apoptosis by stimulating microglial activation. Activation of M1-type microglia has an important role in pathogenesis of major psychiatric disorders, such as major depression, schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, and may associate hippocampal atrophy and disconnection of cognitive structures. Memantine and Amantadine, N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) glutamate receptor inhibitors, have demonstrated, through their pharmacological profile, psychotropic effects but also antiviral properties. In the conditions of the COVID-19 pandemic, based on these arguments, we suggest that they can be associated with the therapy with the basic psychotropics, Memantine or Amantadine, for the control of neuropsychiatric symptoms but also as adjuvants with antiviral action.

Corresponding author: Dragos Marinescu, Professor, MD, PhD; e-mail:; Ion Cristian Efrem, Assistant Professor, MD, PhD; e-mail:

DOI: 10.47162/RJME.61.4.03 Download PDF
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