Tamiflu is used for adults, adolescents, children and infants (including full-term newborn babies) for treating flu (influenza). It can be used when you have flu symptoms, and the flu virus is known to be going round in your community.
Tamiflu can also be prescribed for adults, adolescents, children and infants above 1 year of age for preventing flu, on a case-by-case basis – for instance, if you have been in contact with someone who has flu. Tamiflu may be prescribed for adults, adolescents, children and infants (including full-term newborn babies) as preventive treatment in exceptional circumstances – for example, if there is a global epidemic of flu (a flu pandemic) and the seasonal flu vaccine may not provide sufficient protection.
Tamiflu contains oseltamivir, which belongs to a group of medicines named neuraminidase inhibitors. These medicines prevent the flu virus from spreading inside the body. They help to ease or prevent the symptoms of the flu virus infection.
Influenza, usually called flu, is an infection caused by a virus. The signs of flu often include a sudden fever (more than 37.8 °C), cough, runny or stuffy nose, headaches, muscle aches and extreme tiredness. These symptoms can also be caused by other infections. True influenza infection only occurs during annual outbreaks (epidemics) when flu viruses are spreading in the local community. Outside epidemic periods, flu-like symptoms are usually caused by a different type of illness.
Warnings and precautions:
Before you take Tamiflu, make sure the prescribing doctor knows If you are allergic to other medicines If you have problems with your kidneys. If so, your dose may need adjustment If you have a severe medical condition, which may require immediate hospitalization If your immune system is not working If you have chronic heart disease or respiratory disease.
Tamiflu is not a flu vaccine
Tamiflu is not a vaccine: it treats infection, or prevents the flu virus spreading. A vaccine gives you antibodies against the virus. Tamiflu will not change the effectiveness of a flu vaccine, and you might be prescribed both by your doctor.
Driving and using machines
Tamiflu has no effect on your ability to drive or use machines.
Possible side effects
Like all medicines, this medicine can cause side effects, although not everybody gets them. Many of the side effects listed below may also be caused by influenza. The following serious side effects have been rarely reported since oseltamivir has been marketed:
Anaphylactic and anaphylactoid reactions: severe allergic reactions, with face and skin swelling, itchy rashes, low blood pressure and breathing difficulties
Hepatic disorders (fulminant hepatitis, hepatic function disorder and jaundice): yellowing of the skin and white of the eyes, change in stool colour, changes in behaviour
Angioneurotic oedema: sudden onset of severe swelling of the skin mainly around the head and neck area, including eyes and tongue, with difficulties breathing
Stevens-Johnson syndrome and toxic epidermal necrolysis: complicated, possibly life-threatening allergic reaction, severe inflammation of the outer and possibly inner skin, initially with fever, sore throat, and fatigue, skin rashes, leading to blisters, peeling, shedding of larger areas of skin, possible breathing difficulties and low blood pressure
Gastrointestinal bleeding: prolonged bleeding from the large bowel or spitting up blood