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Zanamivir can help treat and prevent type A and type B influenza. This prescription medication works by inhibiting a certain enzyme, which prevents the release of the virus from infected cells. The drug comes in the form of a powder that is typically inhaled once or twice daily. Before taking it, tell your healthcare provider about all other medications you are taking.

What Is Zanamivir?

Zanamivir (Relenza®) is a prescription medication used to treat and prevent the flu (influenza). When taken at the first signs of the flu, the drug shortens the duration of flu symptoms. When taken before a person has the flu, such as during a flu outbreak, it can help prevent the flu. Unlike other flu medicines, zanamivir is inhaled.
(Click What Is Zanamivir Used For? for more information, including possible off-label uses.)

Side Effects

As with any medicine, side effects are possible with zanamivir. However, not everyone who takes the drug will experience side effects. In fact, most people tolerate it quite well.
If side effects do occur, in most cases, they are minor and either require no treatment or are easily treated by you or your healthcare provider. Serious side effects are less common.
Common side effects of zanamivir include but are not limited to:
(Click Side Effects of Zanamivir to learn more, including potentially serious side effects that you should report immediately to your healthcare provider.)
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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