Amantadine is an anti-viral medication. It's also known by the brand names of Symmetrel and Symadine. It is usually prescribed for the chronic fatigue associated with MS.
His doctor initially prescribed this medication several years ago for the fatigue Cir was experiencing. Because this medication is also used to treat flu infections, he hasn't had a bad cold, sinus infection, or flu since he began taking it. Pretty good side effect, or benefit, I would think.
A Good Accident
The fact that amantadine helps to lessen fatigue was actually found by accident. Several people with MS were being treated for flu infections. They reported that they felt less fatigue while taking it, which was a welcome side effect for many of them.
The experts are not exactly sure why this particular medicine helps with lessening fatigue. But besides this, it can also improve muscle control and muscle stiffness. These are problems that often result in the fatigue that people with MS complain about.
Some MS relapses have long been thought to be caused by infections. For that reason, this medication is thought to also lessen those relapses brought on by infections.
This seems to be true with Cir. As a child and young adult, he was always getting sinus infections. After beginning this medication, he just stopped coming down with these infections.
The dosage is usually 100 to 200mg daily. He takes a 100mg capsule twice a day with a meal. As far as I can remember, he hasn't had any problems with it.
Common side effects
The side effects of amantadine are pretty mild and seems to be well tolerated by most people. It can cause insomnia, though, so patients are advised to take it earlier in the day. It can also cause nausea and dizziness.
We can't remember any of the side effects Cir had when he first began taking it. He has been taking it so long, that his body has built a tolerance for it.
The other common side effects you might experience while taking this medication include the following:
loss of concentration
loss of appetite
There are also some rare side effects associated with amantadine. They include the following:
eye irritation and swelling
shortness of breath
If you drink alcohol while taking this medication, it can cause some of the side effects to become worse. You may experience more of the following:
You might also experience some circulation problems.
If you are pregnant or nursing, you shouldn't take Symmetrel, either. Studies have actually shown that it is harmful to your unborn child and can cause birth defects.
Also, this medication can pass through breast milk. Studies haven't been done, so experts don't know the effects of amantadine on babies. So I'm sure your doctor won't prescribe this medication if you plan on having children, are pregnant, or if you've just had a baby and are nursing. If you think you might be pregnant, you should let your doctor know, so that the possibility can be ruled out.