Flumadine is used for treating and preventing certain types of influenza. It can help shorten the duration of symptoms and prevent the flu during flu outbreaks. Flumadine is approved to prevent the flu in children as young as one year old and treat the flu in adolescents over the age of 16. There are currently no "off-label" uses of Flumadine that are universally accepted.
Flumadine® (rimantadine hydrochloride) is a prescription flu medication. It can be used in the following ways:
- Preventing the flu (such as during flu outbreaks) in adults and children one year of age and older
- Treating the flu in individuals age 16 years of age and older (to help shorten the duration of symptoms).
The flu (influenza) is a respiratory infection caused by a variety of flu viruses. The flu differs in several ways from the common cold, which is a respiratory infection that is also caused by viruses. For example, people with colds rarely get fevers, headaches, or suffer from the extreme exhaustion that the flu viruses can cause. Although nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea can accompany flu symptoms, especially in children, gastrointestinal flu symptoms rarely occur. The illness that people call "stomach flu" is not really influenza (the flu).
Real flu symptoms include:
Although many people consider the flu to be bothersome but not dangerous, serious flu complications can occur. For elderly people, newborn babies, and people with certain chronic illnesses, the flu and its complications can be quite dangerous.
Flumadine is a flu medicine that can be used to both treat and prevent the flu. Although the best way to prevent the flu is with the flu vaccine, many people cannot (or do not) get an annual flu shot. Flumadine can be used for flu prevention to provide temporary protection against the flu in unvaccinated people. This is beneficial during an outbreak or if an individual may have been exposed to the flu virus, such as from an infected family member.
Flumadine does not completely prevent all cases of the flu. Often, people will still develop the flu but will have milder cases. The drug can also be used during a flu outbreak to help protect people in the two to four weeks after a flu shot (since it takes that much time for the vaccine to start working). Flumadine should not be used in this way before or after the nasal flu vaccine (FluMist™). In addition, Flumadine does not offer permanent or vaccine-like protection against the flu.
Flumadine can also be used for flu treatment. When taken within the first 48 hours after flu symptoms start, Flumadine can significantly shorten the duration of the symptoms. The earlier it is started, the better. Since Flumadine is only effective against type A flu viruses, your healthcare provider may perform tests to check with the type of flu you have and to confirm the flu diagnosis.