Precautions and Warnings With Zanamivir

You should review the precautions and warnings with zanamivir before using this flu medication. For example, talk to your healthcare provider if you have asthma, COPD, or other lung diseases before using zanamivir, as it can make these conditions worse. Precautions and warnings with zanamivir also extend to people who are allergic to any of the components of the medication and to women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Zanamivir: What Should I Tell My Healthcare Provider?

You should talk with your healthcare provider prior to taking zanamivir (Relenza®) if you have:
Also, let your healthcare provider know if you are:
  • Pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant
  • Breastfeeding.
Make sure to tell your healthcare provider about any other medications you are taking, including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.

Specific Precautions and Warnings With Zanamivir

Some of the warnings and precautions to be aware of prior to taking zanamivir include the following:
  • The medication is not recommended for people who have lung problems (such as asthma or COPD), as it can make breathing problems worse and it has not been proven effective in people with these lung problems. This does not mean that you absolutely cannot take it if you have asthma or COPD; it means that your healthcare provider should monitor you closely and that other medications may be more appropriate choices for you instead.
  • Zanamivir can cause extremely dangerous breathing problems, even in people who do not have a history of them. If you notice any breathing problems, including shortness of breath or wheezing, stop taking the drug and seek immediate medical attention.
  • In rare cases, zanamivir has caused allergic reactions, such as rashes or swelling of the mouth or throat. Seek medical attention immediately if you think you are having an allergic reaction to zanamivir.


  • There have reports of unusual reactions to atazanavir involving abnormal behavior or delirium (a sudden, severe mental change). Be sure to report any such unusual reactions to your healthcare provider immediately.


  • Make sure you know exactly how to assemble and use the inhaler. Many steps are involved in this process. The patient information that comes with zanamivir contains detailed instructions, but do not hesitate to contact your healthcare provider if you have any questions.
  • Sometimes, people get a bacterial infection as a complication of the flu, which is a viral infection. Zanamivir has not been shown to prevent or treat such bacterial infections.
  • Zanamivir can interact with a few different medications (see Drug Interactions With Zanamivir).
  • Zanamivir is considered a pregnancy Category C medication. This means that it may not be safe for use during pregnancy, although the full risks are not known (see Relenza and Pregnancy).
  • It is not known if zanamivir passes through breast milk in humans. Therefore, if you are breastfeeding or plan to start, discuss this with your healthcare provider prior to taking the drug (see Relenza and Breastfeeding).
5 Tips to Keep a Cold at Bay

Zanamivir Drug Information

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