What is Tamiflu

Tamiflu. Getty Images / Pete Tripp

Uses of Tamiflu:

Tamiflu (oseltamivir phosphate) is an antiviral medication used for treatment and prevention of the flu. When used to prevent the flu, it should be taken within 48 hours of exposure. Tamiflu has been shown to reduce the severity of symptoms of the flu and decrease the duration of the illness by approximately 1.5 days. Depending on a person's other medical conditions, a doctor may prescribe it as far as 7 days after symptoms began although the effectiveness of Tamiflu when started later than 48 hours after symptoms have begun has not been established.

According to the prescribing information, Indications for the administration of Tamiflu include:

  • Treatment of uncomplicated influenza in people older than two weeks of age who have not been symptomatic for more than two days.
  • Prevention of the flu in patients aged one year and older.

Tamiflu is not intended to replace a yearly flu vaccine.

Dosing Information:

Tamiflu is available in 30mg, 45mg, and 75mg capsules. An oral suspension is available for pediatric patients.

For adults: 75 mg taken two times per day for five days to treat the flu, or 75 mg once a day for 10 days to prevent the flu.

Elderly patients and patients with kidney or liver disease are prescribed lower doses.

Pediatric doses are calculated according to the child's weight, for children two weeks to less than one year of age the recommended dose is 3mg/kg twice daily for five days. Your pediatrician will calculate the right amount of Tamiflu for your child.

The dose should be on the label but if you have questions don't hesitate to call your doctor or pharmacist.

Side Effects:

There have been reports of neurologic and behavioral problems associated with the use of Tamiflu. These symptoms include: hallucinations, delirium, and abnormal behavior that may result in injury.

These side effects are more common in children. It should be noted that neurologic and behavioral symptoms are also associated with influenza not treated with Tamiflu.

Other side effects include: bacterial infections, skin problems, nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, ear infections, asthma, and bronchitis, allergic reactions, skin sensitivities. Many of the side effects associated with Tamiflu are also symptoms of the flu so it is difficult to differentiate the cause of some symptoms. Contact your doctor if you have severe side effects after using Tamiflu. Go to the emergency room or call 911 if you experience symptoms of a life threatening allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) such as difficulty breathing, swelling of the face, mouth, or tongue, difficulty swallowing or drooling. Unusual or severe side effects can also be reported by calling 1-800-FDA-1088.

Who Should Take Tamiflu:

There are currently no studies on humans regarding pregnancy and breastfeeding. If you are pregnant or nursing you should discuss the risks of taking Tamiflu with your physician.


Currently Tamiflu is commonly being prescribed for the treatment of the flu virus H1N1 (also called swine flu). It is beneficial in preventing the disease after exposure and reducing the severity of symptoms of this illness if taken within the first 48 hours. Tamiflu is effective for Influenza A&B. It is important to differentiate the flu from a common cold or other illness when considering the use of Tamiflu. Severe side effects should also be reported to your physician.


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Emergency Use Authorization of Tamiflu. Accessed: June 29, 2009 from http://www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/eua/tamiflu.htm

Tamiflu (Oseltamivir Phosphate). Full Prescribing Information. Accessed: February 24, 2016 from http://www.gene.com/download/pdf/tamiflu_prescribing.pdf

Continue Reading