Tamiflu

1 What is Tamiflu?

Brand: Tamiflu

Generic: Oseltamivir

Tamiflu is an antiviral used for the treatment viral infections of the flu virus and swine influenza A.

The symptoms of flu such as weakness, headache, fever, cough, runny or stuffy nose, and sore throat may be reduced by this drug after being given on the first day.

This drug is also used for the prevention of influenza infection if you have come into close contact with someone who has the flu.

This drug is not a substitute for your yearly flu shot. This drug requires a prescription.

2 What to Know Before Using

Before using Tamiflu, you must know all about the risks and complications associated with it. Inform your healthcare provider for any allergic reactions to these drugs or any other drugs, foods, dyes, preservatives, or animals.

Carefully read the label of non-prescription drugs for any possible allergic reaction or contraindications. This drug is not recommended for the treatment of flu in children younger than 2 weeks of age nor to prevent flu in children younger than 1 year of age while the safety and efficacy of this drug are not yet established.

Studies in the elderly have not demonstrated any geriatric-specific problems that would limit the utility of oseltamivir. Adverse effects have been reported in animal studies but studies in pregnant women or animals are still inadequate.

Infant risk is still undetermined when using this drug during breastfeeding. Discuss with your healthcare professional about the potential risks and benefits of taking this drug while breastfeeding.

Drugs should not be taken together to prevent any interactions but in necessary cases inquire your healthcare provider regarding the adjustments in dosage or any other necessary precautions to prevent any unwanted side effects.

Inform your healthcare professional if you are taking any other drugs such as Warfarin. Intake of specific food or using alcohol or tobacco with this drug is associated with an increased risk of certain side effects. Your healthcare professional can give you special instructions about the use of food, alcohol, or tobacco.

Inform your healthcare provider for any other medical problems such as heart disease, illnesses caused by viruses other than influenza Type A or B, liver disease, lung disease, serious medical problems that may need admission to a hospital, weakened the immune system, hereditary fructose intolerance, or kidney disease.

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3 Proper Usage

To use Tamiflu properly, you must follow all instructions given by your doctor. Treatment with this drug should begin within 2 days of onset of symptoms of influenza or following close contact with an infected individual.

You can take this drug with or without food. Tolerability may be enhanced in some patients when this drug is taken with food. For patients who cannot swallow capsules, an oral suspension of this drug is the preferred formulation.

If the oral suspension product is not available, the capsules may be opened and mixed with sweetened liquids such as regular or sugar-free chocolate syrup, corn syrup, caramel topping, or light brown sugar.

If the appropriate strengths of this drug capsules are not available to mix with sweetened liquids and the oral suspension product is not available, then a pharmacist may compound an emergency supply of oral suspension from drug 75 mg capsules.

  • Adults and adolescents 13 years of age and older are given 75 mg twice daily for 5 days. 
  • The recommended oral dose of this drug for treatment of influenza in pediatric patients 2 weeks to less than 1 year of age is 3 mg/kg twice daily for 5 days.
  • The recommended oral dose of this drug for prophylaxis of influenza in adults and adolescents 13 years and older following close contact with an infected individual is 75 mg once daily for at least 10 days.
  • The recommended dose for prophylaxis during a community outbreak of influenza is 75 mg once daily.

Safety and efficacy have been demonstrated for up to 6 weeks in immunocompetent patients. The duration of protection lasts for as long as dosing is continued. Safety has been demonstrated for up to 12 weeks in immunocompromised patients.

An oral suspension of this drug may also be used by patients who cannot swallow a capsule.

  • The recommended oral dose of this drug for prophylaxis of influenza in pediatric patients 1 to 12 years of age is based on body weight which is usually at 3 mg per kilogram of weight.

A missed dose should be taken as soon as possible. However, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule if it is almost time for your next dose.

Store the drug in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light. Keep from freezing. Keep out of the reach of children. Dispose any outdated or expired drugs and ask your healthcare professional for the proper disposal of the drugs.     

4 Precautions to Take

Before using Tamiflu, there are some precautions you must take. Regular visits should be made to your healthcare provider to track your progress and to monitor the effectiveness of the drug.

This drug is not a substitute for an annual flu shot. This drug cannot prevent a bacterial infection that starts with flu-like symptoms.

Seek immediate medical attention if you have symptoms of anaphylaxis such as:

  • rash
  • itching
  • hoarseness
  • trouble breathing
  • trouble swallowing
  • any swelling of your hands, face or mouth while you or your child are using this drug

Check with your healthcare professional immediately if you have symptoms of a skin reaction such as:

  • blistering, peeling or loosening of the skin
  • red skin lesions
  • severe acne or skin rash
  • sores or ulcers on the skin
  • fever or chills while you are using this drug

This drug can cause agitation, irritability, or abnormal behaviors, which may result in injury. If you notice these effects, inform your healthcare professional immediately.

Notify your healthcare professional if you plan to get the live nasal mist flu vaccine before you start using this drug. You should not receive the vaccine within 2 weeks before or 48 hours after using this drug.

Check with your healthcare professional if your symptoms do not improve, or if they become worse after you finish taking the drug.

5 Potential Side Effects

As with many medications, there are several potential side effects associated with Tamiflu. Side effects may vary for each individual and prompt medical attention should be given if they occur.

Seek advice from your healthcare professional immediately if you experience any unusual symptoms such as:

  • phlegm-producing, cough, wheezing
  • abdominal or stomach cramps or tenderness
  • arm, back, or jaw pain
  • bloating
  • chest pain or discomfort
  • diarrhea, watery and severe, which may also be bloody
  • drooling
  • facial swelling
  • fast or irregular heartbeat
  • hoarseness
  • increased thirst
  • pain, shortness of breath
  • unusual weight loss
  • blistering, peeling or loosening of the skin
  • convulsions
  • dark urine
  • the difficulty with swallowing
  • fainting, fast, slow, or irregular heartbeat
  • hives or welts, itching, puffiness, or swelling of the eyelids or around the eyes, face, lips, or tongue
  • joint or muscle pain
  • light-colored stools
  • loss of bladder control
  • loss of consciousness
  • muscle spasm or jerking of all extremities
  • red skin lesions, often with a purple center
  • red, irritated eyes
  • skin rash or itching over the entire body
  • sores, ulcers, or white spots in the mouth or on the lips
  • sweating
  • upper right abdominal or stomach pain
  • yellow eyes and skin

Some side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. As your body adjusts to the medicine, the side effects will slowly disappear. Ask your healthcare professional about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects.

If any of the following side effects persists or are inconvenient, or if you notice any other effects, or if you have any questions about them, consult with your health care professional. Report any side effects to the FDA hotline at 1-800-FDA-1088.

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