Seeing as how this is a serious drug, I chose to quote reputable sources about this drug verbatim, WebMD and the N National Institute of Health.
According to WebMD:
Amantadine is used to prevent or treat a certain type of flu (influenza A). If you have been infected with the flu, this medication may help make your symptoms less severe and shorten the time it will take you to get better. Taking amantadine if you have been or will be exposed to the flu may help to prevent you from getting the flu. This medication is an antiviral that is believed to work by stopping growth of the flu virus. This medication is not a vaccine. To increase the chance that you will not get the flu, it is important to get a flu shot once a year at the beginning of every flu season, if possible.
Based on the recommendation from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in the US, amantadine should not be used to treat or prevent influenza A during the 2008-09 flu season because the current influenza A virus in the United States and Canada is resistant to this medication. For more details, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.
Amantadine is also used to treat Parkinson's disease, as well as side effects caused by drugs (e.g., drug-induced extrapyramidal symptoms), chemicals, other medical conditions. In these cases, this medication may help to improve your range of motion and ability to exercise. For the treatment of these conditions, amantadine is believed to work by restoring the balance of natural chemicals (neurotransmitters) in the brain.
According to the NIH's website, :
How should this medicine be used?
Amantadine comes as a capsule and liquid to take by mouth. It is usually taken once or twice a day. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take amantadine exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor. Do not stop taking amantadine without talking to your doctor.
If this medication causes insomnia (difficulty sleeping), take the last dose several hours before bedtime. What special precautions should I follow?
Before taking amantadine,
- tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to amantadine or any other drugs.
- tell your doctor and pharmacist what prescription and nonprescription medications you are taking, especially benztropine (Cogentin), hydrochlorothiazide with triamterene (Maxzide, Dyazide), medication for depression, other medication for Parkinson's disease, medication for spasms of the stomach or intestines, stimulants, trihexyphenidyl (Artane), and vitamins.
- tell your doctor if you have epilepsy or any other type of seizures, or have ever had heart, kidney, or liver disease, heart failure, low blood pressure, recurring skin rash, or mental illness.
- tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding. If you become pregnant while taking amantadine, call your doctor immediately. Amantadine may cause harm to the fetus.
- this medicine may cause blurred vision; be careful when driving or doing things requiring alertness.
What special dietary instructions should I follow?
Amantadine may cause an upset stomach. Take amantadine with food or milk. What should I do if I forget a dose? Return to top
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember it. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one. What side effects can this medication cause? Return to top
Amantadine may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
- blurred vision
- trouble sleeping
If you experience any of the following side effects, call your doctor immediately:
- depression or anxiety
- swelling of the hands, legs, or feet
- difficulty urinating
- shortness of breath
There is a great deal more minutia on the internet about this drug. Again, take this ONLY as BASIC info.
Amber Volakis accidentally overdosed on amantadine, resulting in her death. Although it is rare, there have been several documented cases where an individual suffering from kidney failure also suffered an accidental overdose as the drug is removed by the kidneys, but, when allowed to continue to circulate in the bloodstream, will slowly bind to proteins and poison the organs.