GENERIC NAME: zanamivir
BRAND NAME: Relenza
DRUG CLASS AND MECHANISM: Zanamivir is an inhaled drug that is used for treating and preventing influenza (the "flu"). Zanamivir 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, zanamivir reduces the duration of symptoms by one day if treatment is started within forty-eight hours after symptoms begin. The FDA approved zanamivir in July 1999.
PRESCRIBED FOR: Zanamivir is used for the treatment of infection with the influenza viruses, including swine flu (H1N1), in individuals seven years of age or older with symptoms for no longer than two days. It also is used for preventing influenza in adults and children five years of age and older. It is not recommended for individuals with underlying airways disease, and it is not a substitute for annual flu vaccination.
SIDE EFFECTS: The most frequent side effects are:
Other important side effects include:
- increase or decrease in appetite,
- sinusitis, and
- ear; nose; and throat infections,
- skin reactions,
- muscle or joint pain,
- allergic reactions,
- bronchospasm, and
- behavioral disturbances.
Quick Guide10 Foods to Eat When You Have the Flu in Pictures
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