GENERIC NAME: oseltamivir
BRAND NAME: Tamiflu
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.
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