Medicines have benefits and some have risks. Always read the label and use only as directed. If symptoms persist or you have side effects see your health professional. Brands and generics both contain the same active ingredient(s) and are medically equivalent. Some brands are marketed under different names by the same manufacturing country depending on the country of origin.
Antiflu (oseltamivir) is an antiviral medication used to prevent or combat influenza A and/or influenza B. Taken as directed it is widely considered a safe medication, suitable for use in children as well as adults, provided appropriate dosage adjustments are made.
To be clear, Antiflu is not a flu vaccination; it is an antiviral medication. It does not contain a flu virus or any of the controversial ingredients commonly included in vaccinations. Antiflu works by targeting an enzyme that inhibits the ability of the virus to spread and thrive, which, depending on when treatment starts, prevents the virus from establishing or prevents symptoms from worsening.
Patients who do receive a flu vaccine should not take Antiflu 48 hours prior to being vaccinated or for two weeks following the vaccination.
Mothers who are pregnant or breastfeeding should speak with a doctor prior to taking Antiflu; effects on unborn or nursing babies are unclear.
Antiflu is sometimes used to prevent getting the flu in the first place. This is most common among certain industries---such as healthcare---or during times of community outbreaks. Any individual can take Antiflu when they feel odds of acquiring flu are high, however. Studies indicate it is effective at preventing infection in over 90 percent of cases.
Treatment for otherwise healthy patients age 13 and up is:
Patients should continue treatment for a minimum of 10 days, even if feeling fine or if the high risk of acquiring flu has been removed. Quitting early can contribute to resistant strains of the virus, which is not a situation anyone wants to deal with.
Treatment can be repeated as needed, if needed. As with all medications, use for the shortest time is ideal; however, some patients feel Antiflu is a preferable risk to acquiring the flu, which can be deadly.
A more common use for Antiflu is treating an existing flu infection. Effects are best if treatment begins within 48 hours of noticing the first symptoms; benefits from the medication will be minimal if treatment begins at later stages.
Patients age 13 and up should:
Antiflu will not directly improve symptoms already present; other medications that do address existing symptoms can also be administered. Antiflu will prevent the virus from worsening, however, which can be tremendously beneficial.
Treatment should continue for the full five days of treatment, even if feeling fine before then, to prevent a resurgence of the virus and/or a resistant virus. If the flu is still persistant past the fifth day, or if it worsens after treatment begins, consult a doctor; the virus may already be resistant or may be complicated with a bacterial or fungal infection.
As mentioned earlier, Antiflu is considered a very safe medication for otherwise healthy patients. There are some other health conditions that make serious adverse effects a greater risk, however; most notably:
The above do not necessarily rule out Antiflu use; for example, immunocompromised patients often use it---with full doctor knowledge and approval---and often for 12 consecutive weeks rather than the standard 10 days or 6 weeks. However, these scenarios are often complicated and vary quite a bit between individuals; what is good for one patient may not be ideal for another.
In other words, patients with any major medical condition are strongly advised to consult a doctor prior to starting treatment with Antiflu.
Most side effects associated with Antiflu are mild. Most commonly experienced are nausea and vomiting after taking a capsule, which may be alleviated, to some extent, if capsules are taken with food. Less commonly reported are:
The above are not cause for concern unless severe enough to be disruptive. If diarrhea is experienced, take care to maintain hydration.
A small percentage of patients---primarily children and teenagers---may develop anxiety, agitation, and hallucinations during treatment. These patients should be monitored for such changes, and if noticed treatment should end until speaking with a doctor.