When it comes to influenza (or the flu), it’s better to prevent it than to treat it. You can do your best to avoid the flu by getting an annual flu shot (influenza vaccine). But, flu shots don’t eliminate your risk entirely, because vaccines don’t cover every strain of the flu.
Fortunately, these medicines fight the influenza virus:
- Oseltamivir (Tamiflu®)
- Zanamivir (Relenza®)
- Peramivir (RapivabTM)
- Baloxavir (XofluzaTM)
Relenza® is only available in an inhaled powder form. Doctors don’t recommend it for people with lung disease. So, let’s take a closer look at Tamiflu.
Fight the flu with Tamiflu
Tamiflu is most effective if you start taking it within 48 hours after your exposure to the flu or within 48 hours of the start of your symptoms. If you have underlying lung disease, preventing and treating the flu is critical to your health.
If you find out that you have the flu within 48 hours of having symptoms, you should insist that your health care practitioner prescribe Tamiflu.
Guidelines for dosing:
- If you have the symptoms of a flu infection, you should take Tamiflu twice a day for five days.
- Tamiflu is very effective at preventing the flu if you are exposed to someone with this virus. In this case you should take Tamiflu once a day for a week.
Another option for influenza treatment
In 2018, the FDA approved Xofluza, a new pill to treat influenza. It’s still a relatively new drug, but so far, a single dose has improved symptoms faster than Tamiflu. However, Xofluza is more expensive and still must be taken within 48 hours of onset of symptoms.
For more in-depth information on this topic, please visit the Big Fat Reference Guide.