How Amantadine Went From a Flu Drug to a Parkinson’s Drug

UF Med student Grant Hubsher recently published an article describing how a single observation in a patient with Parkinson’s disease taking amantadine for flu, led to the use of amantadine in Parkinson’s disease.  His paper appears in this month’s edition of Neurology.  The abstract is below:

Neurology. 2012 Apr 3;78(14):1096-9.

Amantadine: The journey from fighting flu to treating Parkinson disease.


Correspondence & reprint requests to Dr. Okun:



To explore how amantadine transitioned from an anti-flu drug to antiparkinsonian agent.


A review of the historical literature on the use of amantadine from 1966 to the present was performed.


Amantadine was originally introduced and utilized as an antiviral medication. A single patient noticed relief in her Parkinsondisease (PD) symptoms after taking amantadine for a flu infection, and this observation sparked an interest, and several important studies that eventually led to a new drug indication.


Amantadine has over the years fallen out of favor as a drug to address influenza infection; however, it has become part of the arsenal utilized for early symptomatic treatment of PD, as well an option for treating dyskinesia.





[PubMed – in process]

About the Author


Michael Okun

Professor of Neurology, expert on Parkinson's disease and other basal ganglia disorders, deep brain stimulation, author of over 300 research papers and the bestselling book…

Read all articles by Michael Okun