Amantadine

Amantadine is an antiviral and central nervous system stimulant that inhibits viral infection of the cell and increases dopaminergic activity in the brain.

Amantadine was first approved to treat the Asian flu (Influenza A) but was subsequently found to assist in the treatment of muscle stiffness and muscle control in Parksinson’s and in the treatment of carbon monoxide poisoning. Amantadine improves fatigue and muscle control and reduces muscle stiffness in some multiple sclerosis (MS) patients. Its most common use to short-term treatment of the flu.

Amantadine interferes with a viral protein needed to ‘uncoat’ a virus once it enters the cell. Amantadine’s mode of action in the central nervous system is unclear but appears to involve increased dopamine and perhaps norepinephrine release.

Amantadine May Be Helpful in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS) Because it has antiviral activities and because it may enhance the activity of a part of the central nervous system (dopaminergic functioning) that may be underactive in chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS). Amantadine can effect several symptoms (fatigue, muscle stiffness) found in ME/CFS/FM.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS) Studies - Amantadine was poorly tolerated by ME/CFS patients and showed little benefit in a cross-over study with carnitine.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS) Doctors Report  - Over a small sampling of patients Dr. Bell found that 40% could not tolerate the drug (mostly due to jitteriness and anxiousness) and 40% reported from moderately improved to excellent results. Amantadine seemed to be most effective in treating moderately ill patients. Dr. De Meirleir reports Amantadine relieves fatigue in some ME/CFS patients.

Dose - Dr. Bell reports that the standard dose of 100 mg twice daily causes jitteriness and exacerbates symptoms in ME/CFS. He starts at half a teaspoon a day (25 mgs.) and works his way up to 50 mgs.

Side effects  - Amantadine is reportedly generally well tolerated (but seems to be less so in ME/CFS overall). Side effects can include dizziness, trouble sleeping, nausea. Rare side effects include shortness of breath, swelling of hands and feet, nervousness, anxiety, difficulty in concentrating, and exacerbations of pre-existing seizure disorders and psychiatric symptoms, etc. Very rare cases of suicide attempts have been reported in people without psychiatric symptoms taking short-term courses of Amantadine for the flu.

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Mary Evans July 2, 2012 at 11:30 am

I began amantadine (100 mg 2x/day) two weeks ago as an adjunct to the carbidopa/levadopa that I have been taking for five years for “atypical (or early) Parkinson’s – mainly balance and stiffness. But my main problem is serious fatigue. I also have been diagnosed with fibromyalgia (60 years now – I remember being very ill at age 8 and never being the same after – crying myself to sleep from the pain in my knees and everywhere else) and also had sudden onset (after flu like illness) CFS for 7 years seriously in my early forties and 3 more to re-learn reading and writing – and thinking. The first 3 nights after beginning amantadine I couldn’t sleep but the big drop in muscle stiffness and feeling of calmness was worth it. Then I began sleeping better than ever. Now I feel better than I have in years and have been able to cook, clean, organize my home, and resume writing. If things remain for a while as they are now with it, it will be a great boon.

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Cort July 2, 2012 at 11:53 am

Congratulations Mary – you more than deserve some good sleep, reduced stiffness and better health. Please check in again later and tell us how its going. :)

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