N-methyl-D-aspartate antagonists: Ready for clinical trial in brain ischemia?



Antagonists of the N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) subclass of glutamate receptors may offer a new approach for the treatment of ischemic brain injury. This strategy is supported by a well-developed scientific foundation and encouraging results in a variety of in vivo and in vitro experimental models. Several specific antagonists, including MK-801, dextrorphan, dextromethorphan, and ketamine, have already been used at low doses in humans for other indications and are potential candidates for Phase I clinical trials.