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Tamiflu is used for the treatment and prevention of influenza (the virus that causes the flu). The drug attacks the flu virus inside the body, thus preventing the virus from spreading. Common side effects of this medication include nausea and vomiting. It is important to note that Tamiflu is not a flu vaccine, nor should it be used in place of a yearly flu vaccination.

An Introduction to Tamiflu

Tamiflu® (oseltamivir phosphate) is a prescription medication used for the prevention or treatment of the flu. It is licensed for adults and children two weeks of age and older. The medication is not a flu vaccine, nor should it be used in place of a yearly flu vaccination.

Who Makes Tamiflu?

It is manufactured by Roche Pharmaceuticals.

What Is It Used For?

Tamiflu has been licensed for two uses:
  • Treatment of influenza (the virus that causes the flu)
  • Prevention of influenza.
For Tamiflu to treat the flu, it must be taken within one to two days of the start of flu symptoms. For prevention, it must also be started as soon as possible after exposure.
Tamiflu has not been shown to be effective against other types of viruses, including viruses that cause the stomach flu or common cold. It is actively being studied to learn how effective it is at treating bird flu (avian flu).

How Does It Work?

The medication works by attacking the flu virus inside the body, thus preventing it from spreading. This is different from other flu medicines, which just treat symptoms of the flu.
Tamiflu is part of a class of drugs called neuraminidase inhibitors. Neuraminidase (an enzyme found on the flu virus) allows the flu virus to spread. By blocking this enzyme, Tamiflu limits the virus's ability to spread.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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