Amantadine is the general form of the branded preparation Symmetrel, which is used to treat and prevent respiratory infections caused by the virus A.
Initially, amantadine was used to prevent influenza A. Later, doctors found advantages for treating the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), this drug should not be used alone to treat or prevent influenza A, because one strain of this virus in the United States and Canada is drug resistant.
Amantadine is an antiviral drug that is believed to work by stopping the growth of the virus. It helps to treat the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, increasing the effect of dopamine. Amantadine is released in capsules and a liquid form, which must be taken through the mouth.
Amantadine should not be used as a substitute for a flu vaccine, and it can not be used with an influenza vaccine that is inhaled through the nose, because serious interaction may occur.
This medicine may cause irritability or agitation in some people. It can also cause suicidal thoughts or tendencies in some patients.
Before taking amantadine, tell your doctor if you have or have ever had:
- Heart disease
- Kidney disease
- Liver disease
- Low blood pressure
- Skin rash
- Mental illness
You should not take more or less amantadine than your doctor prescribes. Do not stop taking this medication without rummaging with your doctor.
Pregnancy and amantadine
There are no well-conducted studies to assess the safety of amantadine during pregnancy, therefore, risks and benefits should be considered in order to determine whether this drug should be used by pregnant women.
Amantadine is absorbed into human breast milk in low concentrations. The manufacturer recommends that nursing mothers use this medication with caution.
Amantadine: side effects
Tell your doctor if you experience any of the following common side effects.
- Blurred vision
- Problems with sleep
- Feeling as if you are going to faint
Serious side effects:
Immediately consult your doctor if you experience the following serious side effects.
- Swelling of the hands or feet
- Inconsistent Breath
- Depression or anxiety
- Difficulty of urination
Amantadine and alcohol
Drinking alcoholic beverages when using amantadine can cause problems such as circulatory problems, dizziness, fainting or confusion. Do not drink alcohol while taking this medicine.
Amantadine and drug interactions
Tell your doctor about all the medications that you take, especially:
- Maxzide, Dyazide
- Other drugs for Parkinson’s disease
- Preparations for stomach or bowel spasms
- Trihexyphenidyl (Artane)
Amantadine and other interactions
Amantadine can cause blurred vision. Be careful when driving and when performing actions that require vigilance.
You must follow your doctor’s directions or directions on the prescription label when taking amantadine. Below are the average doses of this drug for oral dosage forms (capsules, syrup and tablets):
For the treatment or prevention of influenza:
- Adults and adolescents: 200 milligrams (mg) or four teaspoons, once a day as a single dose.
- Elderly: 100 mg, once a day in the form of a single dose.
- Children between the ages of 9 to 12: 100 mg or two teaspoons, twice a day.
- Age of children 1 to 9: The dose is based on body weight and should be determined by your doctor. The usual dose is from 4.4 to 8.8 mg per kilogram (kg) of body weight per day. The dose is divided evenly and given twice a day. However, the dose is usually not more than 150 mg per day.
- Children under 1 year of age: Use and dose should be determined by your doctor.
For the treatment of Parkinson’s disease:
- Adults: 100 mg, twice daily. Your doctor can adjust your dose.
- Elderly: start with 100 mg once a day in a single dose. Your doctor can adjust your dose.
- Children: Use and dosage should be determined by a physician.
Amantadine can cause indigestion. You should take this medication with food or milk to avoid this side effect.
Overdose with amantadine
If you suspect an overdose, immediately contact a poison control center or an emergency room.
Missed dose of amantadine
If you miss a dose of amantadine, take it as soon as you remember. If it’s time to take the next dose, skip it and continue your regular medication schedule. Do not double the dose to compensate for the missed one.