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Oseltamivir is prescribed for the treatment and prevention of influenza (the virus that causes the flu). It is not a flu vaccine, nor should the drug be used in place of a yearly flu vaccination. Oseltamivir works by attacking the flu virus inside the body, which prevents the virus from spreading. Nausea and vomiting are the most common side effects of this medication.

What Is Oseltamivir?

Oseltamivir (Tamiflu®) is a prescription medication used for prevention or treatment of the flu. It is licensed for use in adults and children two weeks of age and older. This medication is not a flu vaccine, nor should it be used in place of a yearly flu vaccination.
 

Who Makes It?

Oseltamivir is manufactured by Roche Pharmaceuticals.
 

What Is Oseltamivir Used For?

Oseltamivir has been licensed for two uses:
 
  • Treatment of influenza (the virus that causes the flu)
  • Prevention of influenza.
     
When used to treat flu, oseltamivir must be taken within one to two days of the start of flu symptoms. When used to prevent flu, it must be started as soon as possible after exposure.
 
Oseltamivir has not been shown to be effective against other types of viruses, including viruses that cause the stomach flu or common cold. This drug is actively being studied to learn how effective it is at treating bird flu (avian flu).
 

How Does This Medication Work?

Oseltamivir works by attacking the flu virus inside the body, thus preventing it from spreading. This is different from other flu medicines, which just treat flu symptoms.
 
Oseltamivir is part of a class of drugs called neuraminidase inhibitors. Neuraminidase (an enzyme found on the flu virus) allows the flu virus to spread. By blocking this enzyme, oseltamivir keeps the virus from spreading.
 
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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