Amantadine and rimantadine for preventing and treating influenza A in adults.
Jefferson T., Deeks JJ., Demicheli V., Rivetti D., Rudin M.
BACKGROUND: Amantadine hydrochloride and rimantadine hydrochloride have antiviral properties, but these drugs are not widely used due to a lack of knowledge of their potential value and concerns about possible adverse effects. OBJECTIVES: The objective of this review was to assess the effectiveness and safety ("effects") of amantadine and rimantadine in healthy adults. SEARCH STRATEGY: We searched the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL) (The Cochrane Library Issue 4, 2003), MEDLINE (January 1966 to November week 2, 2003), EMBASE (January 1990 to September 2003) and the reference lists of articles. We also contacted manufacturers, researchers and authors. SELECTION CRITERIA: Randomised and quasi-randomised studies comparing amantadine and/or rimantadine with placebo, control antivirals or no intervention, or comparing doses or schedules of amantadine and/or rimantadine in healthy adults. DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS: For prevention trials the numbers of participants with clinical influenza (influenza-like-illness or ILI), i.e. confirmed influenza A, and adverse effects were analysed. Analysis for treatment trials included the mean duration of fever and length of hospital stay, and the number of adverse effects. MAIN RESULTS: Amantadine prevented 25% of ILI cases (95% confidence interval (CI) 13% to 36%), and 61% of influenza A cases (95% CI 35% to 76%). Amantadine reduced duration of fever by one day (95% CI 0.7 to 1.3). Rimantadine demonstrated comparable effectiveness, but there were fewer trials and the results for prevention were not statistically significant. Both amantadine and rimantadine induced significant gastrointestinal adverse effects. Adverse effects of the central nervous system and study withdrawals were significantly more common with amantadine than rimantadine. REVIEWERS' CONCLUSIONS: Amantadine and rimantadine have comparable effectiveness in the prevention and treatment of influenza A in healthy adults, although rimantadine causes fewer adverse effects than amantadine.