Tamiflu (oseltamivir phosphate) is one of the most prescribed oral antiviral medications for the treatment and prevention of influenza. Tamiflu works effectively against both the influenza A and B viruses. In addition, Tamiflu can also be used for the treatment of avian flu (bird flu). During the outbreak of swine flu in 2009, the FDA approved the use of Tamiflu for the treatment and prevention of swine flu as well. Tamiflu oseltamivir combats the influenza virus and prevents it from spreading inside your body. Hence, Tamiflu treats influenza at its source and provides you relief from the symptoms of flu. Besides, Tamiflu also shortens the duration of the disease.
How does it work?
Tamiflu oseltamivir isn't a cure for influenza; however, it does help to reduce the intensity as well as the duration of the symptoms. Oseltamivir - the active ingredient in Tamiflu belongs to a class of medications called antivirals. The influenza virus has a gene that is responsible for making a protein called neuraminidase; this helps the virus escape the cell it has just infected and attack another cell in your body. Tamiflu blocks the action of neuraminidase, thereby inhibiting the spread of the flu virus from one cell to another, as well as preventing the influenza virus from spreading. By preventing the cell to cell spread of the virus, the symptoms and the duration of an influenza infection are significantly reduced. Tamiflu can also be used to prevent the flu following exposure to the virus. To get the best results, you should use the medication within 48-hours after your symptoms occur. In case, you have been exposed to the virus but have not yet received any symptoms you can still take Tamiflu to prevent the flu from occurring.
What is the need for Tamiflu?
Tamiflu plays a significant role in the influenza prevention and influenza treatment, especially the bird flu and swine flu. This is because there is no cure for either the flu or bird flu. Though, there is a vaccine for the A and B strains of the human flu, there is really no guarantee. The strain of the virus changes every year through mutation and therefore the scientists who develop the vaccine sometimes get the strain wrong for a particular flu season. Tamiflu, which is an antiviral drug, is therefore found extremely helpful as it can fight bacteria and prevent it from spreading.
Side effects of Tamiflu
Like most other prescription drugs, Tamiflu also comes with certain side effects. However, most side effects of Tamiflu are mild to moderate and are not likely to affect everyone who uses this drug. Some of the commonly reported minor side effects of Tamiflu include nausea, diarrhoea, bronchitis, abdominal pain, headache, dizziness and vomiting. By taking Tamiflu with food, you can reduce nausea. Some of the rarely reported major side effects of Tamiflu include chest pain, anaemia and unexplained rash. In very rare cases, sufferers have reported self-injury and delirium due to the use of Tamiflu. Please report to your doctor in case you experience major side effects of Tamiflu or if any of its side effects become bothersome.
By John Linney
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