Amantadine is a synthetically prepared anti-viral drug that blocks the activities of viruses inside our body. Precisely speaking, this medication has the capability to slow down the reproductive process of viruses present inside the body cells. Amantadine is indicated for preventing any viral infection and it needs to be present in the body prior to one being exposed to the viruses. Although amantadine is generally prescribed for treating as well as preventing influenza A (a viral infection), this medication obviously is not effective against majority of viral infections. As aforementioned, amantadine was previously used to treat and prevent influenza A during the flu season and is also administered within 24 hours to 48 hours of the beginning of the symptoms of flu with a view to lessen the acuteness of the ailment.
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In later years, scientists discovered that amantadine was helpful in alleviating the symptoms of Parkinson's disease. However, scientists are yet to ascertain the manner in which amantadine works in improving Parkinson's disease symptoms. It is believed that the impact of amantadine is likely to be associated to the medication's aptitude to expand the effects of dopamine - a neurotransmitter (any chemical substance that transmits nerve impulses from one nerve to another or muscle or gland) in the brain, which is lessened in Parkinson's disease. It may be noted that amantadine is not as effective as levodopa, another medication, when it comes to treating Parkinson's disease. Nevertheless, when it is taken in conjunction with levodopa, amantadine offers a number of added benefits.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the sale and use of amantadine as an anti-viral medication as well as a drug for treating Parkinson's disease in 1966.
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As with the case of starting therapy with a new drug, it is important that you also adopt a number of precautions before using amantadine. Prior to beginning treatment with amantadine, tell your physician and/ or pharmacist if you have any allergic reactions to this medication or any other drug. You also ought to tell your doctor and/ or pharmacist regarding all the prescription and non-prescription (over-the-counter) medications, particularly hydrochlorothiazide with triamterene (Dyazide, Maxzide), benztropine (Cogentin), medications for Parkinson's disease, medicines for depressions, medications for spasms of the stomach or intestines, any stimulants, trihexyphenidyl (Artane), vitamins and herbal products. Before you start taking amantadine, inform your physician regarding your entire medical conditions and history, especially if you have or have ever suffered from epilepsy or any other kinds of seizures, any heart ailment, kidney problems, liver disease, heart failure, low blood pressure, mental disorders and/ or chronic skin rash.
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Women wanting to take amantadine for their condition should tell their physician if they are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. In case any woman becomes pregnant while taking amantadine, she should immediately contact her physician and seek advice regarding what she ought to do next. It is known that amantadine has the aptitude to harm the fetus. Similarly, new mothers who wish to take this medication should tell their doctor if they are breast-feeding or breast feed their child only after consulting with their physician. Use of amantadine may result in blurred vision and, hence, it is advisable that you should be careful while undertaking tasks that require alertness and sharp vision, such as driving.
Amantadine has been indicated for treating as well as preventing influenza A infections and also treating Parkinson's disease. In addition, amantadine may also be prescribed to alleviate firmness as well as trembling caused by use of certain other medicines that are usually used to treat nervous and/ or mental ailments. Apart from these, medication may also be used for treating other health conditions depending on the prescription of your doctor.
Amantadine is an oral medication which can be taken with or without food. Normally, this medication is taken once or two times every day or as recommended by your physician. In case you are taking amantadine twice daily and experience sleeping problems after taking the medication, it is advisable that you take the second dose much before you retire for the day. Amantadine is also available in syrup form and if you are taking this syrup, it is important to measure the dose cautiously using a medication spoon or cup. The dosage of amantadine is basically dependent on the patient's medical condition and response to the treatment with the medication. In the case of children, the dosage of amantadine is also dependent on their body weight. It is advisable not to take an overdose of the medication, but use it strictly according to your doctor's recommendations. It has been found that amantadine works most excellently when the amount of the medication remains at a steady level in the body. Hence, it is advisable that you should take this medication after equal intervals all through the day as well as the night.
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If your doctor has prescribed amantadine to treat a viral infection, you should start taking the medication without wasting any time. Moreover, even if the symptoms of the infection go away and you start feeling better after a few days, continue taking the medication till the full regimen is completed. Discontinuing the medication without completing the full course may lead to the relapse of the infection. If you are taking amantadine to treat Parkinson's disease, the benefits of using the medication may not be evident immediately, but take several weeks for the patient to notice the benefits. It is advisable not to discontinue taking the medication all of a sudden or without consulting your physician, since any such action may result in the deterioration of the symptoms of the disease and the side effects of using this medicine. It may be mentioned that amantadine may not work as well if a person has been taking it for several months. Therefore, tell your doctor if the medication has stopped working for you as well as before.
In case you miss a dose of the medication, take it immediately when you remember. However, if it is already time for taking the subsequent dose, skip the missed dose and continue with your regular dosing schedule. It is advisable not to take a double dose of the medication to catch up with the missed dose.
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If you think that you have taken an overdose of the medication by mistake, immediately contact the emergency room or your neighbourhood poison control center. Taking an overdose of amantadine may result in symptoms, such as rapid or irregular heartbeat, shortness of breath, acute drowsiness, change in the amount of urine passed, seizures and mental or mood changes (for instance, confusion, nervousness, aggression and even hallucinations).
While amantadine is effective in preventing influenza A virus from break in and enter the healthy cells in the body, scientists are yet to ascertain the precise mode of operation of this medication. When amantadine is used for treating Parkinson's disease, it works by augmenting the release as well as the actions of dopamine, a substance that plays a vital role in regulating the mobility of the muscles. The availability of more dopamine in the brain facilitates in compensating for the scarcity of the supply of the natural substance owing to the disease. Thereby, amantadine helps to alleviate the symptoms of Parkinson's disease.
Like most other drugs, amantadine is also known to interact with specific mediations, especially herbal medicines and/ or minerals and, hence, they should not be taken concurrently. Even consumption of alcohol and exposure to cold may be harmful for people using this medication.
People enduring Parkinson's disease should never take calabar beans since they are not safe when taken orally. They enclose an active ingredient known as physostigmine, which is especially harmful for people with Parkinson's disease. Similarly, people with multiple sclerosis (a recurrent progressive ailment of the central nervous system) should not take Echinacea purpurea.
Consumption of alcoholic beverages is likely to damage the mental functioning as well as lower the blood pressure drastically. Hence, it is advised that people who are taking amantadine, especially those enduring Parkinson's disease, should avoid drinking alcoholic beverages.
Smoking tobacco is not known to have any interaction with amantadine.
Smoking marijuana while taking amantadine is likely to increase the level of drowsiness and, hence, should be avoided.
People suffering from influenza A or Parkinson's disease and taking amantadine ought to exercise caution so that they do not expose themselves to cold or chilly weather. When exposed to extreme chilly conditions, it may increase the risks of developing livedo reticularis (a condition of the peripheral blood vessels).
Amantadine should never be discontinued all of a sudden, especially when it is being taken for treating Parkinson's disease. It is advisable that you consult you doctor before discontinuing this medication and stop using it gradually. In case you stop taking amantadine abruptly, it may result in severe Parkinsonian crisis. If you are taking this medicine to treat type A influenza infections, you should stop taking amantadine at least 48 hours after the symptoms of the disease have disappeared.
It is essential to always store amantadine at room temperature at 77°F (25°C), but it can be stored in temperatures ranging between 59°F and 86°F ( 15°C and 30°C) for a brief period. This medication should be kept in a place that is away from light and moisture. In other words, store amantadine in a dark and dry place. Remember, this medication should never be kept in your bathroom, which is mostly damp. In addition, it is important to keep all medications in such a place which is beyond the reach of children and pets.
When this medication becomes outdated or is required no longer, dispose it of in a safe and proper manner. Unless directed, never flush this medicine down the toilet or pour it down the drain. If necessary, you may talk to your pharmacist and/ or your neighbourhood waste disposal company regarding the appropriate method of discarding the product when its validity has expired or is no longer needed.