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Amantadine (Symmetrel®)

What Are the Facts?

  • Amantadine was initially developed as an antiviral medication to treat influenza in the 1960s, and was coincidentally realized to be a treatment for PD.
  • It is used in combination with levodopa to treat dyskinesias.
  • It usually provides only mild relief and is seldom used in early stages of PD.
  • It is most commonly available in100 mg capsules, although liquid and tablet forms can also be obtained.

Amantadine may be particularly beneficial in people with PD who have prominent tremor or bothersome levodopa-induced dyskinesia.

What Are the Side Effects?

  • Nausea
  • Lightheadedness
  • Insomnia
  • Confusion
  • Hallucinations
  • Swelling of the ankles
  • Livedo reticularis — a lacey, purplish discoloration of the skin on the legs with some leg swelling. Occurs in less than 1% of people with PD who take this medication.

Caution: PD medications may have interactions with certain foods, other medications, vitamins, herbal supplements, over the counter cold pills and other remedies. Anyone taking a PD medication should talk to their doctor and pharmacist about potential drug interactions.

Page reviewed by Dr. Joash Lazarus, NPF Movement Disorders Fellow, Department of Neurology at Emory University School of Medicine.

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