oseltamivir, Tamiflu

  • Pharmacy Author:
    Omudhome Ogbru, PharmD

    Dr. Ogbru received his Doctorate in Pharmacy from the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy in 1995. He completed a Pharmacy Practice Residency at the University of Arizona/University Medical Center in 1996. He was a Professor of Pharmacy Practice and a Regional Clerkship Coordinator for the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy from 1996-99.

  • Medical and Pharmacy Editor: Jay W. Marks, MD
    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD, is a board-certified internist and gastroenterologist. He graduated from Yale University School of Medicine and trained in internal medicine and gastroenterology at UCLA/Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

GENERIC NAME: oseltamivir


DRUG CLASS AND MECHANISM: Oseltamivir is an oral medication used for treating and preventing the "flu." It is similar to zanamivir (Relenza). Oseltamivir suppresses and decreases the spread of influenza A and B viruses, the viruses responsible for the flu. It does this by blocking the action of neuraminidase, an enzyme produced by the viruses that enables the viruses to spread from infected cells to healthy cells. By preventing the spread of virus from cell to cell, the symptoms and duration of influenza infection are reduced. On average, oseltamivir reduces the duration of symptoms by one and a half days if treatment is started within forty-eight hours of the beginning of symptoms.

The FDA approved oseltamivir in October 1999.

PRESCRIBED FOR: Oseltamivir is used for the treatment of uncomplicated infections with the influenza viruses (A and B) in adults and children (including infants under age 1) within 2 days of the beginning of flu symptoms (and for no longer than 2 days) such as:

Oseltamivir  is not approved to prevent the flu in this age group.

Oseltamivir also is used for preventing the flu in healthy individuals 1 year and older, but it is not a substitute for flu vaccine.

It also is used off-label for prevention and treatment of H1N1 (swine flu). During the H1N1 outbreak of 2009, the FDA approved emergency use of oseltamivir for children less than 1 year old.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 12/29/2014

Quick Guide10 Foods to Eat When You Have the Flu in Pictures

10 Foods to Eat When You Have the Flu in Pictures
FDA Logo

Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

See more info: oseltamivir on RxList
RxList Logo

Need help identifying pills and medications?

Use the pill identifier tool on RxList.

Subscribe to MedicineNet's Newsletters

Get the latest health and medical information delivered direct to your inbox!

By clicking Submit, I agree to the MedicineNet's Terms & Conditions & Privacy Policy and understand that I may opt out of MedicineNet's subscriptions at any time.

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors