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Viral Upper Respiratory Infections (Colds and Influenza) and Amantadine (Symmetrel) and Rimantadine (Flumadine)

Read more about Amantadine (Symmetrel) and Rimantadine (Flumadine).


Amantadine (Symmetrel) and rimantadine (Flumadine) are prescription medications. They affect only influenza A viruses. They are used for treatment, as well as for prevention in high-risk people during an epidemic. These medications do not cure the flu, but may shorten the duration of illness if taken within 48 hours of when symptoms first appear.

Most people with the flu do not need antiviral medicine. These medications should be used only in serious cases because they may have unwanted side effects.

Effect of Amantadine (Symmetrel) and Rimantadine (Flumadine) on Viral Upper Respiratory Infections (Colds and Influenza)

Antiviral drugs like amantadine (Symmetrel) and rimantadine (Flumadine) help treat the flu by reducing the virus' ability to replicate. They do not cure the flu, but can help reduce symptoms and the duration of the illness.

How to Use Amantadine (Symmetrel) and Rimantadine (Flumadine)

Amantadine is approved for the treatment and prevention of the flu for those aged one year and older. Rimantadine is approved for treatment in those aged 13 years and older and for prevention for those aged one year and older.

Side Effects and Warnings

Possible side effects of amantadine (Symmetrel) and rimantadine (Flumadine) include:

  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Insomnia
  • Mood and mental changes
  • Dry mouth
  • Constipation
  • Headache
  • Confusion
  • Loss of coordination

Viral resistance has often been a problem with both of these medications.