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Oseltamivir

Oseltamivir

Why is this medication prescribed?

Oseltamivir is used to treat some types of influenza infection ('flu') in adults, children, and infants (older than 2 weeks of age) who have had symptoms of the flu for no longer than 2 days. This medication is also used to prevent some types of flu in adults and children (older than 1 year of age) when they have spent time with someone who has the flu or when there is a flu outbreak. Oseltamivir is in a class of medications called neuraminidase inhibitors. It works by stopping the spread of the flu virus in the body. Oseltamivir helps shorten the time that flu symptoms such as a stuffy or runny nose, sore throat, cough, muscle or joint aches, tiredness, headache, fever, and chills last. Oseltamivir will not prevent bacterial infections, which may occur as a complication of the flu.

How should this medicine be used?

Oseltamivir comes as a capsule and a suspension (liquid) to take by mouth. When oseltamivir is used to treat flu symptoms, it is usually taken two times a day (morning and evening) for 5 days. When oseltamivir is used to prevent flu, it is usually taken once a day for at least 10 days, or for up to 6 weeks during a community flu outbreak. Oseltamivir may be taken with or without food, but is less likely to cause upset stomach if it is taken with food or milk. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part that you do not understand. Take oseltamivir exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.

It is important to know the dose of medication your doctor has prescribed and to use a measuring device that will measure the dose accurately. If you are taking the medication yourself or giving it to a child older than 1 year of age, you can use the device provided by the manufacturer to measure the dose according to the instructions below. If you are giving the medication to a child under one year of age, you should not use the measuring device provided by the manufacturer because it cannot accurately measure small doses. Instead, use the device provided by your pharmacist. If the commercial suspension is unavailable and your pharmacist prepares a suspension for you, he or she will provide a device to measure your dose. Never use a household teaspoon to measure doses of oseltamivir oral suspension.

What should I do if I forget a dose?

If you forget to take a dose, take it as soon as you remember it. If it is no longer than 2 hours before your next scheduled dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. If you miss several doses, call your doctor for directions. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one.

Side Effects

  • Nausea and vomiting may occur. If either of these effects persist or worsen, notify your doctor or pharmacist promptly.
  • Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.
  • The flu itself or oseltamivir may rarely cause serious mental/mood changes. This may be more likely in children. Tell your doctor right away of any signs of unusual behavior, including: confusion, agitation, self-injury.
  • A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, get medical help right away if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing.
  • This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.

Drug Interactions

Neuraminidase inhibitors are likely to reduce the replication and immunogenicity of intranasal, live-attenuated influenza vaccines. Neuraminidase inhibitors do not impair the antibody response to injected, inactivated influenza vaccine.

Important Information

Oseltamivir is used to treat flu symptoms caused by influenza virus in patients who have had symptoms for less than 2 days. It may also be given to prevent influenza in people who may be exposed but do not yet have symptoms. This medicine will not treat the common cold.

Before taking this medicine, tell your doctor if you have received a nasal flu vaccine within the past 2 weeks, or if you have kidney disease, heart disease, lung disease, or any other serious disease or health problem. Also tell your doctor if you have any condition causing swelling or disorder of the brain.

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