Tamiflu is approved for the treatment of the Influenza virus and also aids from futher spread with in the body, treating flu at its source. Its mechanism of action includes attacking the virus that causes the flu instead of simply masking the symptoms of the flu in adults and children over 1 year of age. It is also indicated as a prophylaxis against the flu.
Tamiflu facts include:
The trade name for Tamiflu is oseltamivir phosphate
Unlike other antiviral flu medications, such as Flumadine and Symmetrel, Tamiflu is effective against both type A and B strains of flu
The drug helps in the reduction of the duration of the flu symptoms by about 1.3 days
This medication is a neuraminidase inhibitor
There is no generic version of Tamiflu available on the market and neither is it available through the NHS.
How does Tamiflu work?
Tamiflu, an antiviral drug, is used in the treatment and prophylaxis of both Influenza virus A and B. A neuraminidase inhibitor, Tamiflu acts as a transition-state analogue inhibitor of influenza neuraminidase, which helps in the prevention of new viruses emerging from infected cells. Tamiflu is the only neuraminidase inhibitor that has been proven to fight against Bird Flu.
Tamiflu was the first commercially developed, orally active neuraminidase inhibitor. Considered a pro-drug, Tamiflu is hydrolysed hepatically to active metabolite, the free carboxylate of oseltamivir.
Tamiflu is indicated for treatment and prevention in people at least one year of age and above. Reports are that Tamiflu may have an adverse effect on infants under the age of one.
Tamiflu tablets are available as 75mg capsules and as a 12mg/ml tutti-frutti flavored oral suspension for children who are too young to swallow the pills. Tamiflu can be taken either with or without food. But, there are reduced chances of upset stomach if Tamiflu is taken with a light snack, milk, or a meal. In addition, this drug does not treat other flu-like viral infections, such as the stomach flu, colds, or RSV.
Tamiflu treatment should be started with the first appearance of the flu symptoms or soon after exposure to the flu. If one has the flu then Tamiflu must be taken twice a day for five days. But, if you want to take Tamiflu as a preventive medication against the flu, Tamiflu must be taken once a day for ten days. Tamiflu can be taken for up to six weeks. Do not take two doses at a time to make up for a missed dose.
Safety and effectiveness of Tamiflu have not been determined in people with chronic heart or lung disease, kidney failure, or in people with other underlying medical conditions. In addition:
Efficacy for Tamiflu has not been established in the treatment of flu-like illnesses caused by any virus other than influenza A and B (e.g., stomach flu, common cold, or other respiratory illnesses not caused by influenza).
Tamiflu is not known to work in other kinds of infections that appear like influenza or occur along with influenza, and need different types of treatment.
Taking Tamiflu should not affect an individual's decision to have an annual influenza vaccination.
The safety and efficacy of repeated courses of Tamiflu treatment have not been established.
Tamiflu is not indicated for treatment or prevention of the flu in patients less than 1 year of age.
Tamiflu side effects
Vomiting, abdominal pain, epistaxis (nosebleeds), ear disorders, conjunctivitis (pinkeye) and nausea are the most common side effects of Tamiflu. Tamiflu side effects are mostly mild to moderate and are generally presented within the first two days of taking the medication. Sometimes, taking the medication on a full stomach may prevent these side effects.
Severe rash is another side effect of Tamiflu and the medication must be stopped in case this happens.
With Tamiflu, some people are at an increased risk of seizures, confusion, delirium, hallucinations, abnormal behavior, convulsions, and encephalitis.
In order to prevent side effects, it is also essential to tell your healthcare professional about receiving nasally administered influenza virus vaccine during the past two weeks.
By Hayden Eck Phd
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