Rather than a generic term for colds and bugs, influenza is in fact a particular illness with specific symptoms that afflicts areas in waves, sometimes known as 'flu seasons'. It's often debilitating and can be fatal. Stemming from the word influence – 14th Century Italians believed it was caused by influence from stars – influenza is actually as old as recorded civilisation.
In 2009, the H1N1 virus mutated to a strain known as swine flu. This new H1N1 virus reached pandemic levels, and Tamiflu – already America's most prescribed flu treatment – became a household name.
The fact that Tamiflu was the drug of choice highlights the potency and reliability of this antiviral medication, which both prevents and treats flu. Its antiviral properties are ideally suited for flu treatment. So whether protecting yourself from the latest strain or fighting off a virus that's as old as time, Tamiflu is always the best option.
Dosage depends on age, but 1-2 tablets daily is usually advised. Tamiflu is well tolerated, but side effects may include mild nausea or skin rashes. On rare occasions Neuropsychiatric side effects may include confusion and self-injury.
What Tamiflu is and what it is used for?
Tamiflu is prescribed to you for treating or preventing influenza. Influenza is an infection caused by the influenza virus. The signs (Symptoms) of influenza include the sudden onset of fever (>37.8 C), cough, runny or stuffy nose, headaches, muscle aches, and often extreme fatigue. These symptoms may also be caused by infections other than influenza. True influenza infection only occurs during annual outbreaks (epidemics) at times when influenza viruses are spreading in the local community. Outside of the epidemic period, these symptoms will mainly be caused by a different type of infection or illness. Tamiflu belongs to a group of medicines named ‘neuraminidase inhibitors’. These medicines prevent the influenza virus from spreading inside the body and so help to ease or prevent the symptoms arising from the influenza virus infection.
Before you take Tamiflu
Do not take Tamiflu: if you are allergic to oseltamivir or any of the other ingredients.
Take special care with Tamiflu: before you take Tamiflu, make sure your prescribing physician knows if you are:
Taking Tamiflu with food and drink: Swallow Tamiflu with water. Tamiflu can be taken with or without food, although it is recommended to take Tamiflu with food to reduce the change of feeling or being sick (nausea or vomiting).
Pregnancy The possible effects of Tamiflu on unborn children are unknown. You must tell your doctor if you are pregnant, if you think you are pregnant or if you are trying to get pregnant, so that your doctor can decide if Tamiflu is right for you.
Breast Feeding The effects on nursing infants are unknown. You must tell your doctor if you are breast feeding, so that your doctor can decide if Tamiflu is right for you.
Driving and using machines: Tamiflu has little or no effect on your ability to drive or use machines.
If Tamiflu has been prescribed to you, you must still tell your doctor or pharmacist, if you take or have taken recently any other medicines, including those you have bought without a prescription.
Are there any interactions with an influenza vaccination? Tamiflu is not a substitute for influenza vaccination. Tamiflu will not change the effectiveness of the influenza vaccine. Even if a vaccination against influenza has been given to you Tamiflu may be prescribed by your doctor.
How to take Tamiflu
Always take Tamiflu as your doctor has instructed you. Take Tamiflu as soon as you get the prescription as this will help to slow the spread of influenza virus in the body. You should ask your doctor or pharmacist if you would like to know more about this medicine. Swallow Tamiflu capsules whole with water. Do not break or chew Tamiflu capsules.
For treatment of influenza take one capsule as soon as you get the prescription and then take one capsule twice a day (usually it is convenient to take one in the morning and one in the evening for five days). It is important to complete the whole 5 day course, even if you start to feel better quickly.
Tamiflu can also be used in prevention of influenza. When used to prevent influenza, Tamiflu should be taken once daily. It is best to take this dose in the morning with breakfast. Your doctor will recommend the length of time to continue taking Tamiflu, if it is prescribed to prevent influenza.
If you take more Tamiflu, than you should: Contact your doctor or pharmacist immediately.
If you have forgotten to take Tamiflu: Take the missed dose as soon as you remember, but do not take a double dose to make up for the dose you have forgotten.
Effects when use of Tamiflu is stopped: There are no side effects when Tamiflu is discontinued prior to advice from your doctor. If Tamiflu is stopped earlier than your doctor told you the symptoms of influenza may reoccur.
Possible Side Effects
Like all medicines, Tamiflu can have side effects.
*Common side effects of Tamiflu
The most common side effect of Tamiflu are nausea, vomiting and stomach ache. These side effects mostly occur only after the first dose of the medicine and will usually stop as treatment continues. The frequency of these effects is reduced if the medication is taken with food.
* Less Common side effects of Tamiflu
Allergic skin reactions and liver function disorder have been very rarely reported.
Children (age 1 to 12 years)
Other less common side effects, which may also be caused by influenza, are diarrhoea, ear inflammation, inflammation of the lungs, sinusitis, bronchitis, aggravation of pre-existing asthma, nose bleeding, ear disorders, inflammation of the skin, swelling of the lymph nodes and conjunctivitis.
Adults and adolescents (children aged 13 years and older)
Other less common side effects, which may also be caused by influenza, are nausea, diarrhoea, bronchitis, dizziness, tiredness, headache and sleeping difficulties.
If you or your child are often sick, you should inform your doctor. You should also tell your doctor if the influenza symptoms get worse or the fever continues.
Keep out of reach and sight of children. There are no special storage conditions. Do not use Tamiflu after the expiry date (EXP) shown the on the box.
The above information is the translation of the manufacturer's insert. It is provided under the supplying company's terms and conditions and should not replace the advice of your personal physician.