Let's Talk About Tamiflu

We have all probably heard about the increasing number of flu cases in recent weeks. The flu is here and making its rounds! Every year we see cases of the flu and every year we hear the same drug name prescribed to treat it: Tamiflu. So what is Tamiflu? How does it work? Does it cure the flu? Can I buy it over the counter? Are there any side effects? How should I take Tamiflu? We hope to answer these questions and more. On a side note, we are not on any drug company’s payroll. We simply want our patients to be as educated as possible on their options and how to stay healthy.

  • What is Tamiflu? Tamiflu is an antiviral medication recommended by the CDC for the treatment of the flu virus.

  • How does Tamiflu Work? As the flu infects cells in the body, Tamiflu prevents the virus from “budding off” of infected cells and infecting more cells. Tamiflu traps the flu virus in the infected cells!

  • Does Tamiflu cure the flu? Unfortunately Tamiflu does not cure the flu. However, if started within 48 hours of the onset of symptoms, it can cut the duration of the virus down by up to 25 hours. Tamiflu can also decrease the severity of the flu, and prevent dangerous flu complications such as pneumonia.

  • Can I buy it over the counter? Tamiflu can only be purchased with a prescription from your doctor.

  • What are the side effects? The main side effects to be aware of are gastrointestinal. These can include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea. You may also see headache, dizziness, cough, or runny/stuffy nose.

  • How is it dosed? Standard dosing for treatment of flu in adults is 75mg twice daily for 5 days. Treatment of flu in children can be between 30 and 60mg twice daily for 5 days with the dose depending on the child’s weight. For prevention of the flu adults will take 75mg once daily for 10 days and children will take 30 to 60mg once daily for 10 days again depending on weight.

  • Can children and pregnant women take Tamiflu? Tamiflu can be taken if pregnant, and it can be given to children 2 weeks and older if recommended by their pediatrician.

If you have any other questions, please feel free to call and ask to speak to your local pharmacist at Baldwin Woods Pharmacy, and remember that it’s still not too late to get your flu shot!

This information was obtained from the CDC website (https://www.cdc.gov/flu/antivirals/whatyoushould.htm)

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