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What is Tamiflu

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Updated July 07, 2009

Uses of Tamiflu:

Tamiflu (oseltamivir phosphate) is an antiviral medication used for treatment and prevention of the flu. When used to prevent the flu, it should be taken within 48 hours of exposure. Tamiflu has been shown to reduce the severity of symptoms of the flu and decrease the duration of the illness by approximately 1.5 days. Depending on a person's other medical conditions, a doctor may prescribe it as far as 7 days after symptoms began.

Dosing Information:

For adults: 75 mg taken two times per day for five days to treat the flu, or 75 mg once a day for 10 days to prevent the flu. Elderly patients and patients with kidney or liver disease are prescribed lower doses. Pediatric doses are calculated according to the child's weight. Your pediatrician will calculate the right amount of Tamiflu for your child. Tamiflu is not recommended for children under one year old.

Side Effects:

There have been reports of neurologic and behavioral problems associated with the use of Tamiflu. These symptoms include: hallucinations, delirium, and abnormal behavior that may result in injury. These side effects are more common in children. Other side effects include: skin problems, nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, ear infections, asthma, and bronchitis. Many of the side effects associated with Tamiflu are also symptoms of the flu so it is difficult to differentiate the cause of some symptoms. Unusual or severe side effects can be reported by calling 1-800-FDA-1088.

Who Should Take Tamiflu:

There are currently no studies on humans regarding pregnancy and breastfeeding. If you are pregnant or nursing you should discuss the risks of taking Tamiflu with your physician. Tamiflu should not be taken by children under one year of age.

Overview:

Currently Tamiflu is commonly being prescribed for the treatment of the flu virus H1N1 (also called swine flu). It is beneficial in preventing the disease after exposure and reducing the severity of symptoms of this illness if taken within the first 48 hours. Tamiflu is effective for Influenza A&B. It is important to differentiate the flu from a common cold or other illness when considering the use of Tamiflu. Severe side effects should also be reported to your physician.

Sources:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Emergency Use Authorization of Tamiflu. Accessed: June 29,2009 from http://www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/eua/tamiflu.htm

Tamiflu (oseltamivir phosphate). Accessed: June 29, 2009 from http://www.tamiflu.com/hcp/default.aspx

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