Amantadine is indicated for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease. This disease is a progressive nervous system disorder that affects movement. Symptoms start gradually, sometimes starting with a barely noticeable tremor in just one hand. Tremors are common but the disorder also commonly causes stiffness or slowing of movement. In the early stages of Parkinson’s disease, your face may show little or no expression. Your arms may not swing when you walk. Your speech may become soft or slurred. The symptoms of this disease may worsen as your condition progresses over time. Some symptoms may include:

  • Tremor
  • Slowed movement
  • Rigid muscles
  • Impaired posture and balance
  • Loss of automatic movements
  • Speech changes
  • Writing changes

This medication may also be used to treat pain associated with shingles or herpes zoster. It is a viral infection that causes a painful rash. It most often appears as a single stripe of blisters that wraps around either the left or the right side of your torso.  Shingles are caused by the varicella-zoster virus, the same virus that causes chickenpox. After you’ve had chickenpox, the virus lies inactive in nerve tissue near your spinal cord and brain. Years later, the virus may reactivate as shingles. Signs and symptoms may include:

  • Sensitivity to touch
  • Burning, pain, numbness, or tingling
  • Fluid-filled blisters that break open and crust over
  • A red rash that begins a few days after the pain
  • Itching
  • Headache
  • Fever

Amantadine belongs to the class of medications called antivirals. This can block the multiplying of the influenza-A virus in the body. This increases the effect of a chemical in your brain called dopamine. Amantadine helps your body better control your movements. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has already approved this prescription. This is supplied as extended-release tablets for oral use. Each tablet contains Amantadine as an active ingredient. It is a stable white or nearly white crystalline powder and freely soluble in water. This is available in the dosage forms of 129 mg, 193 mg, and 258 mg.

How does Amantadine work?

Amantadine would appear to have three actions that allow it to control some of the symptoms of this disease.

This increases the activity of a neurotransmitter called dopamine in the brain. Neurotransmitters are natural body chemicals that are involved in transmitting messages between nerve cells. Dopamine is known to be reduced or absent in the brains of people with Parkinson’s disease. This is thought to be the main cause of the disease’s symptoms. By increasing the release of dopamine in the brain, this drug replaces some of the lost dopamine. Therefore, it lessens some of the symptoms of the disease.

Amantadine also has a mild anticholinergic effect. This means it prevents the activity of a neurotransmitter called acetylcholine. There is normally a balance between the activity of dopamine and the activity of acetylcholine in the brain. However, in Parkinson’s disease, the deficiency of dopamine causes overactivity of acetylcholine. By lessening the activity of acetylcholine, this drug helps restore the balance of acetylcholine and dopamine in the brain.

This drug may as well affect a third neurotransmitter called glutamate. It is a neurotransmitter that acts as a natural nerve-exciting agent. Overactivity of this neurotransmitter is also thought to play a role in causing symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. Amantadine blocks receptors in the brain that glutamate usually acts on.

How to use Amantadine?

The recommended dosage for this medication will depend on your medical condition, age, and response to the treatment. This is to be taken exactly as it is prescribed by your doctor. Do not take more often or less than the given length of time from your doctor. Remember to take it at the same time and in the same way each day. For the best benefit from this drug, use this regularly.

Amantadine is to be taken by mouth usually once a day. You may take each dose with or without food. Swallow the tablet as a whole with a full glass of water. Do not chew or crush the tablet. Doing so can release the entire drug at once, increasing the risk of side effects. Do not suddenly stop taking this medicine without the consent of your doctor. It may worsen your condition or may cause another complication. Amantadine may take several weeks to have an effect. Tell your doctor if your condition does not get better or if it gets worse.

What are the side effects of Amantadine?

Common side effects:

  • Stomach upset
  • Nausea
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Dizziness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Headache
  • Drowsiness
  • Strange dreams
  • Sleep problems or insomnia
  • Nervous feeling
  • Dry mouth and nose
  • Loss of balance or coordination
  • Blurred vision

Tell your doctor if you have unlikely but serious side effects of this drug:

  • Swelling of the ankles or feet
  • Purplish-red blotchy spot on the skin
  • Vision changes
  • Difficulty urinating

Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction:

  • Difficulty or trouble breathing
  • Hives or itching
  • Swelling of your lips, face, throat, or tongue

Warnings and Precautions

  • Tell your doctor if you have any other medications such as vitamins or herbal supplements.
  • This should only be used when needed during pregnancy. If you are breastfeeding women, consult your doctor first before taking a dose.
  • Do not take this medication if you are allergic to it. This drug may contain some ingredients that cause an allergic reaction.
  • You should not share this or any of your medications with others even if they have the same symptoms as yours.
  • If you missed a dose, take it as soon as you remember it. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule.
  • While having this treatment, avoid alcoholic beverages. Alcohol may increase drug levels.
  • This drug may make you dizzy or drowsy. Do not use any machinery or do anything that needs your alertness.
  • Before using, tell your doctor if you have a medical history of glaucoma, kidney or liver disease, and seizure disorder.
  • Keep Amantadine and your other medications far from heat, moisture, and reach of children.