Amantadine (Symmetrel)

Other names: Lysovir

Amantadine is a drug used in the treatment of fatigue in multiple sclerosis. Medication is not a solution to fatigue on its own and when used is one element of a wider fatigue management approach.

How does amantadine work?

Amantadine is an antiviral drug, used to treat influenza infections. It is also used to treat Parkinson's disease. Why it is effective for fatigue in some people with MS remains unknown.

How do I take amantadine?

Amantadine is taken by mouth (orally) as tablets.

Amantadine research

Studies have found that amantadine reduced fatigue in between one and two people in five with mild to moderate MS.

More recently a small study in America has looked at the effect of amantadine on walking difficulties in MS. Extended release capsules were taken once daily at bedtime for four weeks. A small improvement in walking speed was seen, which warrants further research.

Side effects

Amantadine is generally well tolerated with mild side effects. Side effects can include:

If you take amantadine within a few hour of going to bed it could lead to difficulty sleeping or vivid dreams. To avoid this, you should take amantadine no later than 2pm.

Find out more

Pucci E, et al.
Amantadine for fatigue in multiple sclerosis.
Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2007;(1):CD002818.
Read the full article (link is external)
Cohen JA, et al.
Safety and efficacy of ADS-5102 (amantadine) extended release capsules to improve walking in multiple sclerosis: a randomized, placebo-controlled, phase 2 trial.
Multiple Sclerosis Journal;25(4):601-609.
Summary (link is external)
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