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Dosing and Side Effects for Specific Antivirals

Tamiflu and Relenza
Tamiflu oseltamivir) is for adults and children who are 1 year of age and older. Relenza (zanamivir) is for adults and children who are 7 years of age and older, who have an uncomplicated flu infection, and who have had symptoms of influenza for no more than 2 days. Both of these antiviral drugs treat influenza type A and type B infections.
Flumadine (rimantadine) helps adults who have influenza type A virus infections. Flumadine has no effect on influenza type B virus infections.
Symmetrel (amantadine) may be taken by adults and children who are 1 year of age and older to prevent and treat type A influenza virus infections. However, Symmetrel is more likely than Flumadine to cause side effects, such as lightheadedness and inability to sleep.

Proper Dosage

Symmetrel and Flumadine are taken orally (by mouth) in pill form. Relenza is available as a dry powder and can be inhaled using a device known as a "diskhaler." The recommended dosage is two inhalations twice a day, morning and night, for 5 days.
Tamiflu is available as a pill and is taken twice daily for 5 days (for adults). For children, the dose of Tamiflu will depend on the child's weight. If children or adults cannot swallow a capsule, a liquid suspension of Tamiflu can be prescribed.

Side Effects

The neuraminidase inhibitors generally cause fewer side effects than the older flu drugs. The most common side effects seen with Tamiflu are nausea and vomiting.
Side effects of Relenza can include wheezing or serious breathing problems that need prompt treatment. Other common side effects include headache and diarrhea.
Symmetrel and Flumadine can cause side effects such as insomnia, anxiety, nausea, or loss of appetite. In some cases, severe side effects, such as seizures, have been reported.
Talk to your healthcare provider or pharmacist about the possible side effects of antiviral drugs.
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