Tamiflu uses include the prevention and treatment of influenza (the virus that causes the flu). The drug may be recommended as a preventive measure if a person has been in close contact with someone who has the flu or if a community outbreak occurs. If a person already has the flu, Tamiflu uses can decrease how long the flu lasts by one to two days.
Tamiflu has not been shown to be effective against other types of viruses, including viruses that cause the stomach flu or common cold. Tamiflu is actively being studied to learn how effective it is at treating bird flu (avian flu).
Treatment of Influenza
Tamiflu is effective against the two most common influenza viruses -- Influenza A and Influenza B. The 2009 H1N1 strain is an Influenza A virus, and Tamiflu is expected to be effective against H1N1 influenza. For optimum effect, it must be started within one to two days of the first flu symptoms.
Tamiflu is intended to decrease the amount of time you have symptoms of the flu. In clinical studies, Tamiflu has been shown to decrease this amount by one to two days. The drug may also help prevent the spread of flu to others.
Tamiflu is licensed to treat the flu in adults and children as young as two weeks of age.
Prevention of Influenza
Tamiflu is also used to decrease the chances of developing symptoms of the flu in the first place. It can be used for flu prevention in adults, as well as in children 1 year of age and older. Tamiflu may be recommended as a preventive measure if a person has been in close contact with someone who has the flu or if a community outbreak of flu occurs. Tamiflu should not be used in place of early vaccination with the flu vaccine.