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Relenza Warnings and Precautions

In order to ensure a safe treatment process with Relenza, warnings and precautions should be reviewed with your healthcare provider. For instance, you may not be able to use Relenza if you have asthma, COPD, or other lung diseases, as it can make these problems worse. Warnings and precautions with Relenza also extend to women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, or people with certain allergies.

Relenza: What Should I Tell My Healthcare Provider?

You should talk with your healthcare provider prior to taking Relenza® (zanamivir) if you have:
Also, let your healthcare provider know if you are:
  • Pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant
  • Breastfeeding.
Make sure to tell your healthcare provider about any other medications you are taking, including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.

Specific Relenza Warnings and Precautions

Some of the warnings and precautions to be aware of prior to taking Relenza include the following:
  • The medication is not recommended for people who have lung problems (such as asthma or COPD), as it can make breathing problems worse and has not been proven to be effective in people with these lung problems. This does not mean that you absolutely cannot take Relenza if you have asthma or COPD; it means that your healthcare provider should monitor you closely and that other medications may be more appropriate for you.
  • Relenza can cause extremely dangerous breathing problems, even in people who do not have a history of this. If you notice any breathing problems, including shortness of breath or wheezing, stop taking Relenza and seek immediate medical attention.
  • In rare cases, the medication has caused allergic reactions, such as rashes or swelling of the mouth or throat. Seek medical attention immediately if you think you are having an allergic reaction to Relenza.


  • There have reports of unusual reactions to Relenza involving abnormal behavior or delirium (a sudden, severe mental change). Be sure to report any such unusual reactions to your healthcare provider immediately.
  • Make sure you know exactly how to assemble and use the Relenza inhaler. Many steps are involved in this process. The patient information that comes with the drug contains detailed instructions, but do not hesitate to contact your healthcare provider if you have any questions.
  • Sometimes, people get a bacterial infection as a complication of the flu, which is a viral infection. Relenza has not been shown to prevent or treat such bacterial infections.
  • Relenza can interact with a few different medications (see Relenza Drug Interactions).
  • Relenza is considered a pregnancy Category C medication. This means that it may not be safe for use during pregnancy, although the full risks are not known (see Relenza and Pregnancy).
  • It is not known if Relenza passes through breast milk in humans. Therefore, if you are breastfeeding or plan to start, discuss this with your healthcare provider prior to taking the drug (see Relenza and Breastfeeding).
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