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Amantadine for Dogs: Our Vet Explains the Dosage, Pain Management & Side Effects

Written by: Dr. Marti Dudley DVM (Veterinarian)

Last Updated on March 18, 2024 by Dogster Team

amantadine tablets

Amantadine for Dogs: Our Vet Explains the Dosage, Pain Management & Side Effects


Dr. Marti Dudley Photo


Dr. Marti Dudley

DVM (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Amantadine (Osmolex ER®, Gocovri®, Lysovir®, ODAN-Amantadine®, PDP-Amantadine®, Edantadine®, Trilasym®) is a medication often used alongside other modalities to reduce chronic pain. In addition to being beneficial against pain, amantadine is an antiviral that can be helpful against Influenza A. Although designed for humans and used as treatment against Parkinsons, extra-label use of this medication has been utilized in dogs, cats, and horses.

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What Is Amantadine?

Amantadine is a NMDA antagonist, analgesic, and antiviral. Use in dogs, cats, and horses is considered extra-label and is most often utilized as an adjunct pain reliever. Additionally, it can help combat “wind up” pain, which can be seen in some patients long after a healed injury.

Amantadine is not used as a sole means of pain relief but instead is often combined with other pain medications, including gabapentin, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories, and opioids. Osteoarthritis and neuropathic pain are chronic conditions that can benefit from the use of amantadine.

Influenza A replication is inhibited by amantadine. The use of amantadine as an antiviral in dogs is infrequent, and it is not used as a first line of defense against the influenza virus.

Amantadine’s dosing ranges and is dependent on what is being treated. Amantadine is given once or twice daily, and it is critical to follow the dosing instructions prescribed by your veterinarian.

How Is Amantadine Given?

This medication is administered orally and is available as either a tablet, capsule, or liquid. Amantadine can be given on an empty stomach or with food.

Owner giving medicine in a pill to his dog
Image Credit: Creative Cat Studio, Shutterstock

What Happens if You Miss a Dose?

If a dose is missed, it should be given when it is remembered, and the next dose should be given at the appropriate time depending on the dosing interval. If it is approaching time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and medicate as usual. Do not double the dose to make up for the missed one.

Potential Side Effects of Amantadine

  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Ataxia
  • Gas in the intestinal tract

Contraindications and Precautions

Due to renal excretion, this product may need to be reduced in patients with kidney insufficiency. Consideration should be taken before this product is administered to patients with a history of seizures or who receive medications that may lower the seizure threshold.

The use of amantadine should be avoided in pregnant and lactating animals.

Drug Interactions

This medication is excreted through the kidneys; therefore, medication that may alter renal tubular excretion may inadvertently increase the risk of adverse effects due to increased serum levels. Drugs that can cause this include trimethoprim. Additional care should be taken when administering urine acidifiers, CNS stimulants, and anticholinergics.

dog owner talking to vet
Image Credit: SeventyFour, Shutterstock

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Frequently Asked Questions

How Quickly Can I See the Positive Effects of Using Amantadine?

It can take 2–3 weeks of medication administration before benefits are noted.

What Are Some of the Common Reasons Amantadine Is Prescribed?

Dogs with chronic pain conditions like osteoarthritis, disc disease, and bone cancer can benefit from amantadine use. Less frequently is amantadine used for its antiviral benefit.

Do the Antiviral Effects Negate Vaccination of Influenza Strains?

No. Your pet will still be able to mount an immune response to the influenza vaccination if receiving this medication.

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In Summary

Amantadine is a human drug but is being used extra-label in some veterinary species, including dogs. The main use of amantadine in dogs is to help combat chronic pain, although it can be used less frequently as an antiviral. Care and monitoring must be done of pets receiving this medication. In the event of an overdose or if adverse effects are noted, the prescribing veterinarian should be contacted.

Featured Image Credit: Sonis Photography, Shutterstock

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