Tamiflu, or oseltamivir phosphate, is a medication that’s used to treat the flu virus or prevent the spread of flu in people who might be prone to getting the illness. It is a relatively safe medication that can be given to children as young as two weeks old. The medication is available as a liquid suspension or a pill.
When to Use Tamiflu
Tamiflu can treat either type A or type B influenza, though it’s usually used for type A, which is the most common type of flu in the United States. People are prescribed Tamiflu for a couple of different reasons. First, if they have had the flu for two days or less, it can prevent the flu from becoming a worse infection. Also, if a person is at risk of the flu due to a family or community outbreak, then Tamiflu can be taken to prevent it.
How It Works
Tamiflu is a type of drug known as a neuraminidase inhibitor. While it doesn’t kill the flu virus, it can prevent it from spreading throughout the body. With Tamiflu, flu symptoms like fever, chills, muscle aches, fatigue, sore throat, runny nose and cough tend to go away more quickly than they would without treatment. Tamiflu has also played an important role in treating or preventing bird flu in the same way.
Side Effects of Tamiflu
Tamiflu is generally regarded as a safe medication, but some people experience side effects. These can include headache, diarrhea, stomach pain, nausea and vomiting. A small number of people experience serious side effects that range from skin rashes to itching, swelling, difficulty breathing and even hallucinations. See a doctor immediately if you have any of these side effects while taking Tamiflu.
SOURCES: U.S. Food and Drug Administration; U.S. National Institutes of Health
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