) is an antiviral treatment used to prevent or
combat influenza in adults and children. It is effective against
influenza A virus and influenza B virus.
Since its introduction in the 1990s, Tamiflu has been used by tens
of millions of people worldwide.
It works by inhibiting the spread of the virus once it's in the
body, preventing illness from starting or worsening. Patients who
are already ill before taking Tamiflu may still benefit from other
flu medications designed to suppress symptoms.
The medication can be administered by either capsule or oral
Tamiflu is Not a Vaccine:
Most vaccines work by introducing a virus to the body in such small
amounts that the immune system is able to easily combat it. The
immune system has then "learned" how to fight the infection and is
able to do so much more efficiently and effectively in the
Because flu viruses are constantly evolving, flu vaccines have to
be modified regularly, typically once a year.
Tamiflu does not contain flu virus or any of the controversial
ingredients commonly included in vaccinations. Tamiflu targets an
enzyme that inhibits the ability of the virus to spread from cell
to cell, without needing to regularly adjust the formula.
Do not get vaccinated for the flu within 48 hours of using Tamiflu;
the vaccine may not be as effective.
Using Tamiflu to Prevent Influenza:
During a local flu outbreak, or if exposure is otherwise likely,
taking Tamiflu once daily for 10 days will significantly decrease
the chances of becoming ill. Studies indicate it is effective at
preventing infection over 90% of the time.
The standard dose for ages 13 and up is either 75 mg by capsule or
12.5 mL of the oral suspension. Dosage strength for children under
13, the elderly, and individuals with certain health conditions
will vary; a physician should be consulted for the ideal
It's important to complete treatment even if no symptoms of flu are
noticed. Stopping treatment early may result in resistant,
difficult-to-treat strains of the virus.
Using Tamiflu to Treat Influenza:
Tamiflu is effective for up to 2 days, or 48 hours, after flu
symptoms are noticed:
- Muscle or body aches
- Sore throat
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Chest congestion, coughing
- Nausea, vomiting or diarrhea
It will not stop existing symptoms, but will prevent the illness
and symptoms from worsening. Other medications designed to treat
symptoms themselves may taken in addition.
If using capsules, patients 13 years and up should take 75 mg twice
daily for 5 days. For oral suspension, 12.5 mL are taken twice
daily for 5 days. Treatment should be completed even if symptoms
Some patients are at greater risk of experiencing severe adverse
reactions when using Tamiflu and should speak with a doctor about
potential dangers before using:
- Kidney, heart or lung disease
- Weakened immune system
- Any condition that causes swelling of the brain
- Any other major illness
- Use of a flu vaccine in the previous 2 weeks
Anyone who is allergic to the ingredients in Tamiflu capsules or
oral suspension should speak with a physician or pharmacist about
This medication may be less effective if used with other
prescription medications, supplements or vitamins. A doctor or
pharmacist can explain any potentially dangerous interactions.
The most common side effects associated with this treatment are not
serious, and not cause for concern unless severe or persistent:
Rarely some patients, particularly children and teenagers,
experience mood changes and become confused or agitated after using
Tamiflu. Even more rarely they may experience hallucinations and
may harm themselves. Children and teenagers should be supervised
until it is known how they handle the medication.