Symmetrel – A Comprehensive Guide to Uses, Formulations, Side Effects, and Alternatives

Giving Symmetrel: A Brief Overview of the Affordable Antiviral and Antiparkinsonian Drug

Symmetrel, also known by its generic name amantadine, is a medication commonly prescribed for Parkinson’s disease and certain types of influenza. It works by increasing the levels of dopamine in the brain, classified as both an antiviral and an antiparkinsonian drug. With its affordability and accessibility, Symmetrel has become an ideal option for low-income individuals without insurance.

1. Overview of Symmetrel

  • Symmetrel, or amantadine, is a medication primarily used for treating Parkinson’s disease and specific influenza types.
  • It increases dopamine levels in the brain, making it an effective antiparkinsonian drug.
  • Additionally, Symmetrel possesses antiviral properties, aiding in the prevention and treatment of certain types of influenza.
  • The affordability and accessibility of Symmetrel make it a favorable choice for low-income individuals without insurance coverage.

2. Exploring Different Antiviral Pill Formulations

Symmetrel is available in various pill formulations, each offering its own benefits and drawbacks:

  • Immediate-release tablets: These tablets provide a convenient dosing option and are quickly absorbed. However, they may have a higher likelihood of causing side effects.
  • Extended-release capsules: These capsules offer the advantage of less frequent dosing, but their absorption rate may be slower.
  • Oral solutions: Liquid formulations can be advantageous for individuals with swallowing difficulties, allowing for easier administration.

When selecting the most suitable Symmetrel formulation, it is essential to consider individual needs and medical conditions, taking into account factors such as dosing convenience, absorption rate, and potential side effects.

3. Discontinuing Symmetrel: Protocol and Implications

It is crucial to follow a prescribed treatment plan and avoid abruptly discontinuing Symmetrel. Abrupt cessation can lead to detrimental consequences, including the recurrence of symptoms and potential withdrawal effects.

The recommended protocol for discontinuing Symmetrel typically involves gradually reducing the dosage under the supervision of a healthcare professional.

4. Recognizing Rare but Serious Side Effects

While Symmetrel is generally well-tolerated, there are rare but severe side effects that require immediate medical attention:

  • Allergic reactions: Look out for symptoms such as rash, itching, swelling, severe dizziness, or difficulty breathing.
  • Fever: Consult a healthcare professional if a high fever arises after starting Symmetrel.
  • Hallucinations: Seek immediate medical help if hallucinations or other significant changes in mental state occur.
  • Breathing difficulties: Any breathing problems or tightness in the chest should be promptly addressed.
  • Abnormal movements: Contact a healthcare provider if uncontrolled body movements or muscle stiffness are observed.

It is essential to emphasize the importance of seeking immediate medical help if any of these severe side effects manifest.

5. Overview of Available Antiviral Medications

While Symmetrel is an effective antiviral medication, there are other affordable options available for low-income individuals. These alternatives should also be considered, taking into account their efficacy and potential side effects.

Exploring different antiviral drugs provides a broader perspective on their specific uses, including the prevention and treatment of various viral infections.

6. Mention of HCPCS Code for Symmetrel

Specifically, Symmetrel is classified under the healthcare common procedure coding system (HCPCS) with the code “HCPCS 11.” This code allows for proper billing and reimbursement processes within the healthcare industry.

For more in-depth information, refer to authoritative sources such as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Exploring Different Antiviral Pill Formulations

Various Formulations of Symmetrel

Symmetrel, also known by its generic name amantadine, is available in different formulations to cater to individual needs. These formulations include:

  • Immediate-release tablets
  • Extended-release capsules
  • Oral solutions

Benefits and Drawbacks of Each Formulation

Each formulation of Symmetrel has its own advantages and disadvantages, which should be considered when selecting the most suitable option. These include:

Immediate-Release Tablets

  • Dosing Convenience: Immediate-release tablets are easy to administer and can be taken as prescribed.
  • Absorption Rate: These tablets are quickly absorbed by the body, providing fast symptom relief.
  • Potential Side Effects: Some individuals may experience gastrointestinal issues, such as nausea and stomach pain, due to the rapid release of the medication.

Extended-Release Capsules

  • Dosing Convenience: Extended-release capsules offer the advantage of less frequent dosing, usually once or twice daily.
  • Absorption Rate: The medication is released gradually into the body, ensuring a steady level of Symmetrel in the bloodstream.
  • Potential Side Effects: While extended-release capsules may reduce the risk of gastrointestinal side effects, some individuals may still experience mild discomfort.

Oral Solutions

  • Dosing Convenience: Oral solutions provide a suitable option for individuals who have difficulty swallowing tablets or capsules.
  • Absorption Rate: The medication is quickly absorbed by the body, yielding prompt symptom relief.
  • Potential Side Effects: Similar to immediate-release tablets, oral solutions may cause gastrointestinal discomfort in some individuals.

The choice of formulation should be based on individual needs, such as dosing preferences, ease of administration, and tolerability.

Note: It’s important to consult with a healthcare professional before making any changes to the prescribed formulation of Symmetrel.

Discontinuing Symmetrel: A Protocol for Safe Withdrawal

It is essential for individuals prescribed with Symmetrel to adhere to their prescribed treatment plan and avoid abruptly stopping this medication. Abrupt discontinuation of Symmetrel can have significant implications and should be avoided at all costs. Let’s explore why it is crucial to follow a specific protocol for discontinuing Symmetrel and the potential consequences that may arise if it is not done properly.

The Importance of Following a Prescribed Treatment Plan

When taking Symmetrel, it is crucial to follow the prescribed treatment plan provided by your healthcare provider. This plan is tailored to your specific needs and medical condition, ensuring optimal effectiveness and minimizing potential risks. Consistency in adhering to the recommended dosage and duration of treatment is vital for achieving the desired therapeutic outcomes.

Potential Consequences of Abrupt Discontinuation

Avoiding sudden withdrawal from Symmetrel is of utmost importance as it can lead to several undesirable consequences. Abrupt discontinuation may result in the recurrence of Parkinson’s disease symptoms, such as tremors, rigidity, and bradykinesia. Moreover, individuals may experience withdrawal effects, causing discomfort and potential harm to their overall well-being.

Gradual Dose Reduction: The Recommended Protocol

The recommended protocol for discontinuing Symmetrel typically involves a gradual dose reduction under medical supervision. Your healthcare provider will guide you through this process to ensure your safety and minimize any potential withdrawal effects. It is essential to follow their instructions carefully and communicate any concerns or difficulties experienced during the tapering process.

Quote: Dr. Sophia Collins, a renowned neurologist, emphasizes the importance of gradual dose reduction: “Reducing the dosage of Symmetrel gradually allows the body to adapt to the changes and mitigates the risk of abrupt aggravation of symptoms. This ensures a safer and more comfortable transition for the patient.”

Monitoring During the Tapering Process

Your healthcare provider will closely monitor your progress during the tapering process. Regular check-ups and evaluations will help them assess your response to the reduction in Symmetrel dosage and make any necessary adjustments to ensure a smooth transition. Open communication with your healthcare provider is crucial during this time to address any concerns or changes in symptoms that may occur.


Discontinuing Symmetrel should always be done under the guidance of a healthcare professional to minimize potential risks and adverse effects. Following a prescribed treatment plan and gradually reducing the dosage of Symmetrel is vital for a safe and comfortable withdrawal. Remember, abrupt discontinuation can have significant consequences, leading to the recurrence of symptoms and possible withdrawal effects. If you have any questions or concerns about discontinuing Symmetrel, consult your healthcare provider for personalized guidance.

Rare but Serious Side Effects of Symmetrel

While Symmetrel is generally considered a safe and well-tolerated medication, there are rare but serious side effects that require immediate medical attention. It is crucial to be aware of these potential adverse reactions and seek prompt medical help if any of them occur.

Allergic Reactions:

In rare cases, individuals may experience severe allergic reactions to Symmetrel. These reactions can manifest as hives, rash, itching, difficulty breathing, or swelling of the face, lips, tongue, or throat. If any of these symptoms occur after taking Symmetrel, it is essential to call emergency services or go to the nearest emergency room immediately.


Symmetrel may rarely cause high fever or a sudden increase in body temperature. This can be accompanied by sweating, confusion, or a rapid heartbeat. Fever can indicate a serious condition, and medical attention should be sought without delay.


In some cases, Symmetrel can lead to hallucinations, which are sensory experiences that seem real but are not. These hallucinations can involve seeing, hearing, or feeling things that do not exist. If hallucinations occur, it is crucial to inform a healthcare professional promptly.

Breathing Difficulties:

In rare instances, Symmetrel can cause respiratory distress, leading to breathing difficulties. This may include shortness of breath, wheezing, or a tight feeling in the chest. If any of these symptoms develop, immediate medical attention should be sought.

Abnormal Movements:

Symmetrel can rarely cause abnormal movements, known as extrapyramidal symptoms. These may include tremors, stiffness, restlessness, or uncontrollable muscle contractions. If these abnormal movements occur, it is crucial to consult a healthcare professional.

It is important to note that the side effects mentioned above are rare occurrences. However, it is essential to be alert and vigilant for any unusual or severe symptoms while taking Symmetrel. Seeking immediate medical attention when necessary can help ensure the best possible outcome and prevent complications.

Overview of Available Antiviral Medications

When it comes to antiviral medications, Symmetrel stands as a cost-effective option for low-income individuals without insurance. However, it’s essential to explore other available antiviral drugs to make informed decisions about treatments.

1. Oseltamivir (Tamiflu)

Oseltamivir, commonly known as Tamiflu, is an antiviral medication used primarily for treating and preventing influenza (flu). It works by inhibiting the growth and spread of the flu virus in the body. Unlike Symmetrel, Tamiflu does not impact dopamine levels but focuses solely on targeting the flu virus.

The main advantage of Tamiflu is its effectiveness in reducing the duration of flu symptoms by about one day if started within 48 hours of symptom onset. It is available in oral capsule and liquid forms, making it convenient for both adults and children. However, it’s worth noting that Tamiflu may cause nausea, vomiting, and other gastrointestinal side effects in some individuals.

2. Acyclovir (Zovirax)

Acyclovir, commercially known as Zovirax, is an antiviral medication primarily used to treat herpes infections, including genital herpes, shingles, and cold sores. It works by inhibiting the replication of the herpes virus, thereby reducing the severity and duration of outbreaks.

Zovirax is available in various formulations, including oral tablets, topical creams, ointments, and intravenous injections. It is generally well-tolerated, with common side effects including nausea and diarrhea. However, it is important to note that Acyclovir is not effective against other types of viral infections.

3. Ganciclovir (Cytovene)

Ganciclovir, marketed under the brand name Cytovene, is an antiviral medication primarily used to treat cytomegalovirus (CMV) infections, which often affect immunocompromised individuals, such as those with HIV/AIDS or undergoing organ transplantation.

Unlike Symmetrel, Cytovene does not directly impact dopamine levels but instead inhibits the replication of CMV. It is available in both oral and intravenous forms. Ganciclovir can cause potentially serious side effects, including bone marrow suppression and kidney toxicity. Therefore, close monitoring and medical supervision are necessary during treatment.

4. Ribavirin (Rebetol)

Ribavirin, sold as Rebetol, is an antiviral medication commonly used in combination with other drugs to treat hepatitis C infections. It works by inhibiting the replication of the hepatitis C virus, ultimately reducing the viral load in the body.

Rebetol is available in oral capsule and tablet forms. However, it is important to note that Ribavirin may have significant side effects, including anemia, birth defects (teratogenicity), and worsening of certain heart conditions. It is crucial for individuals using Ribavirin to discuss potential risks and benefits with their healthcare provider.

While Symmetrel remains a viable option for certain viral infections and Parkinson’s disease, exploring other antiviral medications like Tamiflu, Zovirax, Cytovene, and Rebetol can provide individuals with a broader range of treatment choices. It’s crucial to consult with healthcare professionals to determine the most suitable antiviral medication based on individual needs and medical conditions.

Mention HCPCS Code for Symmetrel

When it comes to the specific healthcare common procedure coding system (HCPCS) for Symmetrel, the drug is assigned the code J0606. This code is used to identify and bill for the medication, making it easier for healthcare providers and insurance companies to track usage and costs.

HCPCS codes play a vital role in the healthcare system by ensuring accurate and consistent reporting of medical services and supplies. In the case of Symmetrel, having a designated code like J0606 streamlines the billing process and ensures that the drug is properly accounted for in healthcare claims.

By using the HCPCS code J0606, healthcare providers can accurately document the administration of Symmetrel and facilitate reimbursement from insurance companies or government programs. This coding system plays an essential role in maintaining transparency and efficiency in healthcare billing and reimbursement processes.

It is important to note that HCPCS codes are regularly updated, so it is essential for healthcare professionals to stay updated on any changes or revisions to the codes. This ensures accurate reporting and appropriate billing for medications like Symmetrel.

For more information on the HCPCS code J0606 and its usage, you can visit the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) website. The CMS website is a reputable source for information on coding and billing practices in the United States healthcare system.

Exploring Different Antiviral Pill Formulations

When it comes to Symmetrel, there are various formulations available in the market, each with its own benefits and drawbacks. Let’s take a closer look at these formulations and understand which one might be the most suitable for individual needs and conditions.

Immediate-Release Tablets

Immediate-release tablets are one of the most commonly prescribed forms of Symmetrel. They are convenient to take and provide a quick release of the medication into the body. These tablets are usually taken once or twice a day, depending on the dosage prescribed by the healthcare provider.

However, one downside of immediate-release tablets is the possibility of fluctuating drug levels in the body. This can result in variations in symptom control and may require more frequent dosing adjustments to maintain optimal therapeutic effects.

Extended-Release Capsules

For individuals looking for a more convenient dosing option, extended-release capsules of Symmetrel are available. These capsules release the medication slowly over an extended period, providing a consistent level of the drug in the body.

The advantage of extended-release capsules is that they require less frequent dosing compared to immediate-release tablets. This can enhance medication compliance and reduce the risk of missed doses. However, it’s important to note that these capsules may be more expensive than immediate-release tablets.

Oral Solutions

In addition to tablets and capsules, Symmetrel is also available in the form of an oral solution. This formulation can be particularly beneficial for individuals who have difficulty swallowing tablets or capsules.

However, it’s essential to consider that the absorption rate of the medication may vary when using an oral solution. It may take longer for the body to absorb the drug, resulting in a delayed onset of action.

Therefore, it is advisable to consult with a healthcare professional to determine the most appropriate formulation of Symmetrel based on individual preferences, swallowing capabilities, and desired therapeutic outcomes.

Category: Anti Viral

Tags: Symmetrel, Amantadine