What Is Rimantadine Used For?

Rimantadine is used for treating and preventing the flu. Specifically, it is used to prevent the flu in adults and children during a flu outbreak and to help shorten the duration of flu symptoms in people over the age of 16. While many medicines are occasionally prescribed for "off-label" purposes, there are currently no off-label rimantadine uses that are universally accepted.

An Overview of Rimantadine Uses

Rimantadine hydrochloride (Flumadine®) is a prescription flu medication. It can be used in the following ways:
  • Preventing the flu in adults (such as during flu outbreaks) and children one year of age and older
  • Treating the flu in adults and adolescents age 16 years and older (to help shorten the duration of symptoms).
The flu (influenza) is a respiratory infection caused by a variety of flu viruses. The flu differs in several ways from the common cold, which is a respiratory infection that is also caused by viruses. For example, people with colds rarely get fevers, headaches, or suffer from the extreme exhaustion that the flu viruses can cause. Although nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea can accompany flu symptoms, especially in children, gastrointestinal flu symptoms rarely occur. The illness that people call "stomach flu" is not really influenza (the flu).
Real flu symptoms include:
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Dry cough
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Headache
  • Muscle aches
  • Extreme fatigue.
Although many people consider the flu to be bothersome but not dangerous, serious flu complications can occur. For elderly people, newborn babies, and people with certain chronic illnesses, the flu and its complications can be quite dangerous.
Rimantadine is a flu medicine that can be used to both treat and prevent the flu. Although the best way to prevent the flu is with the flu vaccine, many people cannot (or do not) get an annual flu shot. Rimantadine can be used for flu prevention to provide temporary protection against the flu in unvaccinated people. This is beneficial during an outbreak or if an individual may have been exposed to the flu virus, such as from an infected family member.
Rimantadine does not completely prevent all cases of the flu. Often, people will still develop the flu but will have milder cases. The drug can also be used during a flu outbreak to help protect people in the two to four weeks after a flu shot (since it takes that much time for the vaccine to start working). Rimantadine should not be used in this way before or after the nasal flu vaccine (FluMist™). In addition, rimantadine does not offer permanent or vaccine-like protection against the flu.
Rimantadine can also be used for flu treatment. When taken within the first 48 hours after flu symptoms start, rimantadine can significantly shorten the duration of the symptoms. The earlier it is started, the better. Since rimantadine is only effective against type A flu viruses, your healthcare provider may perform tests to check with the type of flu you have and to confirm the flu diagnosis.
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Rimantadine Hydrochloride (HCL)

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