Ironically, the oral flu drug (not the vaccine), Amantadine has other uses such as being used to treat traumatic brain injuries and Parkinsons but has not been tested with stroke patients. In fact, the drug used also to treat Parkinson's disease patients has been in the news since 2005. But now a latest study is breaking headlines with news that the flu drug is being used on brain trauma patients, for examples, soldiers returning from combat and accident victims.
Since so many people got vaccinated against the flu, the drug is now also being used for brain injuries. In fact, flu medicine is now used to help people with brain injuries including trauma from injury for example from accidents or combat in the military service and for Parkinson's disease. It's news again today, even though it has been in studied and published in medical journals for several years as a drug used in treating brain injuries.
In the Sacramento and Davis regional area, the University of California, Davis has been studying the flu drug, Amantadine for use with brain-injured participants. See, Drug Therapies for the Neurobehavioral Sequelae of Traumatic Brain Injury.
Also from UC Davis see the article, Identification of Low-Risk Patients With Traumatic Brain Injury and Intracranial Hemorrhage Who Do Not Need Intensive Care Unit Admission. Also see a UCLA study on this topic from the Brain Research Institute.
For the latest news on this flu drug being used for brain injuries on the newest study from another university, see the March 1, 2012 CBS/AP article, "Flu drug Amantadine may boost recovery from severe brain injuries." Also see the article, Parkinson's Drug May Speed Brain Injury Recovery - Amantadine.
Ironically, news on this flu drug has been in the Journal of Clinical Pharmacy and Theraputics since March 14, 2005. See, Amantadine for traumatic brain injury: does it improve cognition and reduce agitation?
This new study shows that the oral flu drug called Amantadine may also speed recovery from severe brain injuries. The study has been published today, March 1, 2012 in the New England Journal of Medicine. Amantadine has been tested with 184 patients who had severe brain injuries caused by falls and car crashes. About a third were in a vegetative state (unconscious but with periods of wakefulness) and the rest were minimally conscious.
The patients were randomly assigned to receive amantadine or a placebo daily for four weeks. They were treated within one to four months after getting injured - a period when a lot of patients get better on their own, according to study author Joseph Giacino, a neurologist at Boston's Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital.
The findings focused on the faster recovery rate for the group being given the flu drug, Amantadine. Changes included the ability to give yes-and-no answers, follow commands or use a spoon or hairbrush. Of the patients who received Amantadine, only 17 percent remained in a vegetative state, versus 32 percent of those who received the dummy drug. Interestingly, when treatment with Amantadine ended, recovery in the Amantadine group slowed and two weeks later, the level of recovery in the two groups was about the same.