Symmetrel, also known by the medical name Amantadine is a medication against viruses. It is typically used to fight the Influenza A virus. Symmetrel is not recommended during certain seasons because of the resistance of some viruses to the drug. It is also used to combat the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease as well as the disease itself, among other things.
Do not use nasal influenza active vaccines during Symmetrel courses, or for 2 days after stopping a course. The effectiveness of the nasal vaccine is reduced by the Symmetrel.
Tell your doctor if you have a history of epileptic or other seizures, heart, kidney and liver diseases, pressure problems, glaucoma, a history of mental illness and drug abuse.
A possible side effect of the drug is impaired judgement, vision and sluggish reactions. If you are driving or doing anything that requires concentration, exercise caution.
Always take Symmetrel for the entire prescribed course if it is being used for Influenza A. Do not stop because your symptoms recede. Keep taking the drug till the end of the course.
If Parkinson’s is being treated with Symmetrel, make sure you take it indefinitely. Do not stop unless you talk to your doctor first.
An uncommon side effect of the drug is increased urges to engage in sexual activity, gamble etc. If you do experience these, tell your doctor as soon as possible.
People with Parkinson’s are at a higher risk of developing a melanoma. Talk to your doctor about symptoms and take regular tests to be sure you aren’t affected.
Symmetrel’s effect on unborn children is unknown. Tell your doctor if you are or will be getting pregnant during the treatment course.
Take Symmetrel orally, exactly as prescribed. Do not take it in larger amounts than prescribed. Do not take Symmetrel longer than your doctor has told you to.
Drink the tablet with a glass of water. Don’t dry swallow. If in a liquid form, use a marked dosage spoon or cup. Do not use a tablespoon. Measuring cups are available at pharmacies.
For influenza A, the medicine should be started 2 days after symptoms appear, at MOST. For Parkinson’s, keep taking it unless advised by your doctor.
Missed doses and overdose
If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you can. If it is close to your next dose time, skip the one you missed. DO NOT take extra to make up for it.
If you take too much of the medicine, call the local Poison hotline and the emergency medical services as soon as possible. Overdoses can be fatal if unaddressed.
Overdose symptoms include:
Common side effects of Symmetrel include:
Dizziness, lethargy and headaches
Insomnia and weird dreams
Nausea, constipation, diarrhea
Dry nose and mouth
Balance and coordination issues
Serious side effects are more uncommon. Seek emergency assistance if you experience any of these:
Short of breath for no reason
Acute weight gain
Depression, irritability and agitation
Behavioral changes and tendencies to self-harm
High fever, stiffness, confusion
Rapid, thready pulse
Tremors and sweating
Stop taking Symmetrel immediately if you show any allergic symptoms like hives, facial swelling, itchiness and difficulty breathing.
Tell your doctor before getting the medicine if you are on:
Maldemar, Scopace, Transderm-Scop