Flumadine is a medication used to prevent and treat certain types of influenza (the flu). It can shorten the duration of symptoms when you take it at the first signs of the flu, and it may prevent the flu from occurring in the first place. This product is available by prescription only and comes in tablet form. Potential side effects include dizziness, nausea, and insomnia.
What Is Flumadine?
Flumadine® (rimantadine hydrochloride) is a prescription medication used to both treat and prevent certain types of the flu (influenza). When taken at the first signs of the flu, Flumadine shortens the duration of flu symptoms. When taken before a person has the flu (such as during a flu outbreak), Flumadine may not always prevent the flu, but it may help make the flu case more mild.
Brand-name Flumadine is manufactured by Forest Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Generic versions are made by various different manufacturers.
How Does Flumadine Work?
It is thought that Flumadine works by inhibiting the uncoating of the flu virus, an important step in the replication (the "reproduction") of the virus. Specifically, the medicine inhibits the activity of the influenza virus M2 protein, which forms a channel in the virus membrane. As a result, the virus cannot replicate (make copies of itself) after it enters a human cell.
Flumadine is effective only for some influenza A viruses and is not effective against influenza B viruses. Since the "bird flu" or "avian flu" virus (H5N1) is a type of influenza A, it is possible that this drug may work for some strains of this virus. However, many strains of H5N1 influenza are resistant to this medication.
For any given year, the predominant flu strain may or may not be susceptible to Flumadine. If the predominant flu strain is not susceptible, this medication should not be used to prevent or treat the flu.
Written by/reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last reviewed by: KristiMonson, PharmD;
List of references (click here):
Flumadine [package insert]. St. Louis, MO: Forest Laboratories, Inc.;2010 April.
Food and Drug Administration, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. Electronic orange book: approved drug products with therapeutic equivalence evaluations. FDA Web site. Available at: http://www.fda.gov/cder/ob/. Accessed January 18, 2008.
Briggs GG, Freeman RK, Yaffe SJ. Drugs in Pregnancy and Lactation. 7th ed. Philadelphia (PA): Lippincott Williams & Wilkins;2005.
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