In this session, we will be discussing the consumer medication information for oseltamivir, trade name TamifluTM.

What it’s for & How to take

Oseltamivir is used to treat uncomplicated seasonal flu in adults, children, and infants greater than 2 weeks of age. Oseltamivir is also used to prevent seasonal flu in adults and children older than 1 year of age.

Oseltamivir works by stopping the spread of the flu virus in the body. This medication may help decrease symptoms of the flu such as a runny nose, muscle aches and pains, fever, chills, headache, cough and sore throat.

When treating seasonal flu, this medication must be started within 48 hours of the onset of symptoms and is usually prescribed to be taken twice daily for 5 days. This medication may be taken with or without food.

Oseltamivir is also used to prevent the flu in people who have been exposed to someone who is currently infected with the seasonal flu virus. When used for prevention, this medication should be started within 48 hours of exposure to the virus. It is usually taken once daily for 10 days or sometimes longer depending upon the potential for repeat exposure. If you have any questions on how long you are to take your medication, talk with your pharmacist or doctor.

This medication is sometimes used to treat other conditions. Talk with your doctor or pharmacist if you are prescribed this medication to treat something that is not listed here.

Continue to take this medication for the full course of therapy. If you stop taking oseltamivir to soon your infection may not be fully treated, or you may not be protected from the flu. If you miss a dose of this medication, take it as soon as you remember. If your next dose is less than 2 hours away, skip the missed dose, and continue with your normal dose time. Do not take a double dose to make up the missed dose.

Oseltamivir will not treat bacterial infections that may occur due to a complication of the flu. If your flu symptoms are not improving, or are getting worse, contact your doctor.

Warnings & Cautions

  • This medication will not stop you from giving the flu to others. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you should receive the flu vaccine. Do not use the nasal flu vaccine within 48 hours after taking oseltamivir. Oseltamivir may make the nasal flu vaccine less effective.
  • Let your pharmacist or doctor know if you are pregnant or breastfeeding before taking this medication.

Interactions & Side Effects

  • Tell your pharmacist or doctor all your medication allergies so they may determine if oseltamivir is safe for you to take.
  • Avoid dangerous drug interactions. Tell your pharmacist or doctor all the other medication you are taking, including over the counter supplements, even if you don’t take them very often.
  • Ask your doctor if this medication is safe to take with your current health conditions. Tell your doctor if you have any condition that may affect your immune system such as HIV, cancer or any heart, lung or kidney disease.
  • While taking oseltamivir, you may feel some nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and perhaps a headache. If these or any other unwanted side effects persist, contact your doctor or pharmacist to talk about it with them.
  • Call your doctor right away if you have any signs of an allergic reaction such as rash, hives or swelling, confusion or hallucinations, increasing agitation, or any speech problems or shakiness.

If you have any questions about what you have heard, contact your pharmacist or doctor. This session does not include all the potential interactions or side effects that this medication may cause. Ask your pharmacist how your medication should be stored and how you should dispose of it when you are done taking it. Do not share your medication with anyone, ever. Remember, this is not meant to replace your counseling session with your pharmacist. In case of overdose, call your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222.

Updated 7/20