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]