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Tamiflu (oseltamivir phosphate) - the antiviral treatment for influenza and bird flu.

Tamiflu - information and usage

oseltamivir phosphate 75mgWhat is Tamiflu and what does it do?

Tamiflu, generic name "oseltamivir phosphate", is an antiviral treatment for influenza, more commonly known as flu. It attacks the virus that causes flu and stops it taking hold inside your body, as opposed to just treating the symptoms of flu like most over the counter remedies. Tamiflu can also be taken to prevent flu in patients who are aged over 12 years. (It can be taken in children over one year old in certain circumstances, but its safety in children under 13 has not yet been established.)

When should I take it?

Tamiflu needs to be taken within 48 hours of you noticing the onset of the symptoms of flu. The symptoms of flu may include the following:

  • a raised body temperature (fever)
  • a cough
  • shivering
  • aches and pains
  • a headache
  • lethargy
  • nasal congestion

In addition to taking Tamiflu, it is wise at the onset of flu to rest and drink plenty of fluids. You can also take over the counter flu remedies such as Beechams hot lemon to give temporary relief to the symptoms. Children can be given paracetamol at a dose appropriate to their size (read the instructions on the bottle or ask your pharmacist). Unless prescribed by a doctor, you should not give children under the age of 12 aspirin.

How does it work?

Tamiflu is a neuraminidase-blocker. Neuraminidase is a protein needed in order for the flu virus to reproduce. Tamiflu limits the production of neuraminidase to limit the flu infection within the body. WHO, the World Health Organisation, recommends Tamiflu as a treatment for the Bird Flu virus.

Who manufactures it?

It is manufactured by Roche Laboratories Inc.

Does Tamiflu have any side effects or contraindications?

Most people who take this medicine suffer no side effects. However, about 10% of people who take it will suffer from nausea or vomiting. To prevent this, it may help if it is taken with food. Other less common side effects include vertigo, bronchitis, a rash, abdominal pain and sleep problems.

It should not be taken in patients who have a decreased kidney function.

Safety of this medicine has not been established for use during pregnancy or breast feeding, and should not be taken unless your doctor considers that it is necessary for you to take it.

Please note - there may be more side effects and contraindications than have been listed above. If you have any concerns, please consult with your doctor or pharmacist.

How is it taken?

It is taken orally. The tablets are grey and pale yellow in colour and contain 75mg active ingredient.

Do antibiotics help in the treatment of flu?

No. Antibiotics only treat bacterial infections. They have no effect on viruses (including the common cold) and should not be taken under these circumstances.