Amantadine hydrochloride has pharmacological actions as both an anti-Parkinson and an antiviral drug. The mechanism by which amantadine exerts its antiviral activity is not clearly understood. It appears to mainly prevent the release of infectious viral nucleic acid into the host cell by interfering with the function of the transmembrane domain of the viral M2 protein. In certain cases, amantadine is also known to prevent virus assembly during virus replication. It does not appear to interfere with the immunogenicity of inactivated influenza A virus vaccine. The mechanism of action of amantadine in the treatment of Parkinson's disease and drug-induced extrapyramidal reactions is not known. Data from earlier animal studies suggest that amantadine hydrochloride may have direct and indirect effects on dopamine neurons. More recent studies have demonstrated that amantadine is a weak, non-competitive NMDA receptor antagonist (K1 = 10µM). Although amantadine has not been shown to possess direct anticholinergic activity in animal studies, clinically, it exhibits anticholinergic-like side effects such as dry mouth, urinary retention, and constipation. Amantadine was approved by the FDA in 1966 as a prophylactic agent against Asian influenza, and eventually received approval for the treatment of influenza virus A in adults. In 1969, it was also discovered by accident to help reduce symptoms of Parkinson's disease, drug-induced extrapyramidal syndromes, and akathisia. NCATS
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