Uses of Amantadine
Amantadine is used to treat the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease (PD; a disorder of the nervous system that causes difficulties with movement, muscle control, and balance) and other similar conditions. It is also used to control movement problems that are a side effect of certain medications used to treat Parkinson’s disease. It also is used to prevent symptoms of influenza A virus infection and for the treatment of respiratory infections caused by the influenza A virus. Amantadine is in a class of medications called adamantanes. It is thought to work to control movement problems by increasing the amount of dopamine in certain parts of the body. It works against the influenza A virus by stopping the spread of the virus in the body.
Side Effects of Amantadine
Amantadine may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
- dry mouth
- decreased appetite
- difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep
- abnormal dreams
- uncontrollable tightening of muscles, change from normal walking and falls
- the lace-like purple pattern on the skin
Some side effects can be serious. If you experience any of these symptoms, call your doctor immediately:
- hallucinations (seeing things or hearing voices that do not exist)
- believing things that are not true
- not trusting others or feeling that others want to hurt you
- suicidal (thinking about harming or killing oneself or planning or trying to do so)
- lack of interest, enthusiasm, or concern
- dizziness, lightheadedness, fainting, or blurred vision
- swelling of the hands, feet, ankles, or lower legs
- difficulty urinating
- shortness of breath
Amantadine may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while taking this medication.
Warnings & Precautions
Before taking amantadine:
- tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to amantadine, any other medications, or any of the ingredients in amantadine capsules, extended-release capsules, tablets, or liquid. Ask your pharmacist for a list of the ingredients.
- tell your doctor and pharmacist what other prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products you are taking or plan to take. Be sure to mention any of the following: acetazolamide (Diamox); antihistamines; co-trimoxazole (Bactrim, Septra, Sulfatrim); dichlorphenamide (Daranide); hydrochlorothiazide with triamterene (Maxzide, Dyazide); ipratropium (Atrovent); medications for irritable bowel disease, mental illness, motion sickness, sleep, or urinary problems; other medications to treat Parkinson’s disease; methazolamide (GlaucTabs, Neptazane); quinine (Qualaquin); quinidine; sedatives; sodium bicarbonate (Alka-Seltzer, in Zegerid); stimulants; or thioridazine (Mellaril). Your doctor may need to change the doses of your medications or monitor you carefully for side effects.
- tell your doctor if you have kidney disease. Your doctor may tell you not to take amantadine.
- tell your doctor if you drink or have ever drunk large amounts of alcohol, use or have ever used street drugs, or have overused prescription medications, or if you have or have ever had epilepsy or any other type of seizures, a sleep disorder, urinary tract infections, mental illness, glaucoma (a condition in which increased pressure in the eye can lead to a gradual loss of vision), eczema (atopic dermatitis; a skin disease that causes the skin to be dry and itchy and to sometimes develop red, scaly rashes), heart failure, swelling of the hands, feet, ankles, or lower legs, low blood pressure, or liver disease.
- tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding. If you become pregnant while taking amantadine, call your doctor immediately. Amantadine may cause harm to the fetus.
- if you are having surgery, including dental surgery, tell the doctor or dentist that you are taking amantadine.
- you should know that amantadine may make you drowsy or cause blurred vision. Do not drive a car, operate machinery, or participate in potentially dangerous activities until you know how this medication affects you.
- ask your doctor about the safe use of alcoholic beverages while you are taking amantadine. Alcohol can make the side effects of amantadine worse.
- you should know that amantadine may cause dizziness, lightheadedness, and fainting when you get up too quickly from a lying position. This is more common when you first start taking amantadine or if your dose has been increased. To avoid this problem, get out of bed slowly, resting your feet on the floor for a few minutes before standing up.
- do not have any vaccinations without talking to your doctor.
- you should know that some people taking amantadine and other similar medications used to treat Parkinson’s disease, have developed gambling problems or had other intense urges or behaviors that were compulsive or unusual for them, such as increased sexual urges, binge eating, or uncontrolled spending. Call your doctor if you have an urge to gamble that is difficult to control, you have intense urges, or you are unable to control your behavior. Tell your family members about this risk so that they can call the doctor even if you do not realize that your gambling or any other intense urges or unusual behaviors have become a problem.
Amantadine comes as a capsule, extended-release capsule (Gocovri), tablet, and liquid to take by mouth. The capsules, tablets, and liquid medications are usually taken once or twice a day. The extended-release capsules are taken once a day at bedtime. Take amantadine at around the same time(s) every day. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take amantadine exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.
Swallow the extended-release capsules whole; do not split, chew, or crush them. If you have difficulty swallowing, you may open the extended-release capsule and sprinkle the entire contents on a teaspoonful of soft food, like applesauce. Eat the mixture right away and swallow without chewing.
If you are taking amantadine for Parkinson’s disease, your doctor may start you on a low dose of amantadine and gradually increase your dose.
Do not stop taking amantadine without talking to your doctor. If you suddenly stop taking amantadine, you may experience fever, confusion, changes in mental state, or severe muscle stiffness. Your doctor will probably decrease your dose gradually.
Ask your pharmacist or doctor for a copy of the manufacturer’s information for the patient.
Keep all appointments with your doctor and the laboratory. Your doctor may order certain lab tests to check your response to amantadine.
Do not let anyone else take your medication. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your prescription.
It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.
All information has been provided courtesy of MedLinePlus from the National Library of Medicine and from the FDA.