Amantadine (Molecule of the Month for February 2006)
Symmetrel, anti flu
Amantadine is an antiviral drug for the treatment of flu, the Influenzavirus A viral infection. It was approved by the FDA in 1976. Recently, amantadine is reported to have been used in China poultry farming in an effort to protect the birds against avian flu. In western countries and according to international livestock regulations, amantadine is approved only for use in humans. Chickens in China have received an estimated 2.6 billion doses of amantadine. Avian flu (H5N1) strains in China and southeast Asia are resistant to amantadine, so treatment for a human outbreak in these areas will require the use of different and more expensive anti-flu drugs.
It is believed it inhibits influenza's viral replication, possibly by preventing the uncoating of the virus's protective shells, which are the envelope and capsid.
The drug has also been demonstrated to help reduce symptoms of Parkinson's disease and drug-induced short-term extrapyramidal syndromes. As an antiparkinsonic it is being prescribed together with L-DOPA when L-DOPA responses decline (probably due to tolerance).
Formal Chemical Name (IUPAC)
Update by Karl Harrison
(Molecule of the Month for February 2006 )