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Tamiflu UK - Antiviral Flu Treatment
Tamiflu is an antiviral prescription medicine used to treat people who have had symptoms of the flu for less than two days. Tamiflu has proven to be highly effective at clearing up the virus that causes the flu, but it can also be used to reduce the chance of getting the flu in the first place.
You can buy Tamiflu from The Independent Pharmacy without the need for a prescription from your GP. If you’re over the age of 18 years and you’ve had flu symptoms for less than 48 hours (or you’ve come into contact with someone with the flu virus) you can purchase Tamiflu to treat or prevent the flu once you’ve completed a quick online consultation.
What is Tamiflu?
Tamiflu is an antiviral flu medication that comes in the form of oral capsules. The treatment contains the active ingredient oseltamivir, an antiviral substance that’s effective at treating and preventing both influenza A and B, the viruses that cause flu. Each Tamiflu capsule contains 75mg of oseltamivir.
Tamiflu is prescribed to people who have had symptoms of flu for less than 48 hours but who are at high risk of developing complications as a result of the virus. It can also be prescribed to vulnerable people who have been exposed to the flu virus as a way to prevent them from developing symptoms.
Those prescribed Tamiflu should take it orally every day for between 5-10 days, following their provided directions. It’s important to remember that Tamiflu isn't a substitute for the annual flu jab, so you should still get your jab if you’re eligible.
You can buy Tamiflu here at The Independent Pharmacy. You’ll just need to complete a short online consultation so our medical team can ensure it’s the right treatment for you.
What is Tamiflu used for?
Tamiflu is used for the treatment and prevention of flu caused by influenza viruses A and B. There are four types of influenza viruses — A, B, C and D — with types A and B being the ones that cause seasonal flu, the circulating influenza viruses that occur each winter. This includes swine flu (which is caused by influenza type A).
Tamiflu can be used for the treatment of influenza. It stops the infection from spreading, which prevents the condition from worsening, and helps your body to get over symptoms faster (though it doesn’t help to relieve flu symptoms).
Tamiflu can also prevent you from getting infected with the flu at all. If you’ve come into contact with someone who has the flu and you think you're at risk of influenza infection, you can take Tamiflu within 48 hours to prevent yourself from becoming infected with the virus.
Can Tamiflu treat COVID-19?
Tamiflu is used to treat and prevent symptoms of the flu caused by viruses influenza A and B. The virus that causes coronavirus (COVID-19) is from a different family, which means that Tamiflu isn't effective at treating people infected with coronavirus or preventing them from contracting it.
If you think you have coronavirus, you should follow the current government guidance and take steps to prevent spreading the virus, such as working from home where you can and limiting your contact with other people. You can also take pain medication such as ibuprofen and paracetamol to manage your symptoms.
How does Tamiflu work?
Tamiflu contains the antiviral agent oseltamivir, which, when taken orally, is absorbed through the digestive symptom into the bloodstream. It then targets cells that have been invaded by the flu virus, stopping them from being able to spread to other healthy cells.
This process confines the influenza virus to a smaller area, making the impact of the illness much less severe and allowing the body’s immune system to combat the virus more quickly and easily.
How effective is Tamiflu?
Tamiflu is thought to be very effective at both treating and preventing influenza (flu). Tamiflu can decrease flu severity by about 40% (as well as complications of the flu such as pneumonia) and reduce the duration of illness by 30% to 40%. However, it does need to be taken in the first 36 to 48 hours of illness to be truly effective.
The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has authorised the use of Tamiflu to treat or prevent influenza (flu). However, it specifies that Tamiflu cannot replace the flu vaccination, and its use should be based on official medical recommendations.
Oseltamivir-based medicines such as Tamiflu are currently the primary antiviral drugs recommended for the treatment and prevention of influenza. This is due to influenza drug susceptibility patterns, as there are currently some influenza viruses that are resistant to other types of flu medications.
Tamiflu clinical trials
Multiple clinical trials show that oseltamivir treatments like Tamiflu are efficient at reducing viral activity and resolving the disease symptoms.
How long does it take for Tamiflu to work?
Unlike antibiotics that quickly clear up bacterial infections, Tamiflu is an antiviral medicine that prevents the further spread of the infection within the body. This means that it doesn’t reduce the symptoms you're already experiencing: instead, it prevents them from worsening and ultimately reduces their duration.
If you're taking Tamiflu to treat flu (suggesting you’ve had a clinical influenza diagnosis), the recommended treatment time for best results is five days (taking one 75mg capsule twice a day). For the prevention of flu, a typical course is one 75mg capsule per day for 10 days. You should notice improvements in your condition once your course of treatment is over.
How long are you contagious with flu after taking Tamiflu?
Taking Tamiflu doesn’t prevent you from being contagious, so you should be mindful to avoid passing the flu virus to others while using it. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends limiting your contact with others (staying at home if possible) for at least 24 hours after your fever has disappeared to ensure that you’re no longer contagious and cannot infect others.
Is Tamiflu available over the counter?
Tamiflu is a prescription medicine, meaning you cannot buy it over the counter. However, you can buy Tamiflu online without going to the doctor. By answering a few questions so that we can make sure it’s the right treatment for you, The Independent Pharmacy can dispense Tamiflu directly to your UK address as quickly as the next working day without you needing a prescription from your GP.
When do you need Tamiflu?
If you already have the flu, Tamiflu can reduce the severity of your symptoms and speed up your recovery time. It can also be used to prevent you from developing the flu if you’ve been, or are going to be, exposed to someone who already has it. We’re able to prescribe Tamiflu privately for patients hoping to treat or avoid the flu.
There are more strict guidelines for when Tamiflu can be prescribed on the NHS. The focus there is on people who are particularly likely to develop health complications as a result of contracting the flu virus.
You’re among those people if any of the following applies to you:
- You're over 65 years old.
- You’re immunocompromised (you have a weakened immune system).
- You have a respiratory, heart, liver or kidney condition.
- You have diabetes.
- You have a neurological condition.
If you fall into any of these categories and have been exposed to the flu virus or had symptoms of flu for less than 48 hours, taking Tamiflu capsules can treat infection and prevent you from becoming more unwell.
Tamiflu for children
Tamiflu can be taken by children over the age of 1 month. At The Independent Pharmacy, however, we are currently only able to issue Tamiflu to adults over the age of 18 years. If your child is suffering from the flu and you think they may need Tamiflu, you should speak to your doctor.
Alternatives to Tamiflu
For treating the symptoms of the flu virus, Oseltamivir (Tamiflu) and Zanamivir (Relenza) are the two most recommended antiviral medications. They’re both prescription medications, so they can’t be bought over the counter, though Tamiflu can be purchased via our online pharmacy after completing a short health questionnaire.
Over-the-counter painkillers such as ibuprofen and paracetamol can provide effective short-term relief from many of the symptoms associated with the flu, including headaches, muscle pain, and a sore throat.
You can also relieve congestion and sinus pain through over-the-counter decongestants such as Sudafed Blocked Nose Spray and Actifed Multi-Action Tablets, while Ultra Chloraseptic Spray can provide fast, effective relief from a sore throat by numbing the area.
For a full range of treatments, and for more advice about flu causes and symptoms, head to our cold and flu information page.
How to take Tamiflu
Tamiflu is for oral use only and can be taken by those over 18 years old to treat or prevent the flu virus. You should aim to take Tamiflu within 48 hours of either developing symptoms or being exposed to the virus. You should take Tamiflu as follows:
- For treating flu in adults over 40kg: Take two 75mg capsules with water every day for 5 days.
- For preventing flu in adults over 40kg: Take one 75mg capsule with water every day for 10 days.
Your dosage instructions will be issued as above depending on how you need to use Tamiflu.
If you weigh under 40kg or you're immunocompromised, your doctor will advise you on the correct dosage.
If you miss a dose of Tamiflu, take one as soon as you remember, then continue as before, taking your next capsule when it is due. Don’t double up to replace a missed dose, and don’t take a Tamiflu capsule less than two hours before your next one.
Please ensure that you read the Patient Information Leaflet thoroughly before taking Tamiflu.
Each Tamiflu capsule contains the active ingredient oseltamivir (oseltamivir phosphate).
Each capsule also contains the following inactive ingredients: pregelatinised starch, talc, povidone, croscarmellose sodium, sodium stearyl fumarate, gelatin, yellow iron oxide (E172), red iron oxide (E172), titanium dioxide (E171), shellac (E904), C Blue 2 (indigo carmine E132).
Tamiflu side effects
Like any medication, Tamiflu may cause some people to experience symptoms. These are rare, but may still occur.
If you experience Tamiflu side effects, they’ll likely improve once you stop taking the tablets. If they don’t improve or you're concerned about any side effects you’re experiencing, you should speak to a doctor or pharmacist for advice.
The most common side effects of Tamiflu are:
- Nausea and vomiting.
- Cold sores.
- Coughs, runny noses, sore throats.
- Pain in limbs.
- Sleeping difficulties.
- Stomach aches.
If you experience severe side effects after taking Tamiflu — such as gastrointestinal bleeding, yellowing of the skin, extreme swelling around the face, or an allergic reaction (which is rare but can happen) — then you should call 999 or seek immediate medical attention from your nearest emergency department.
To understand more about potential side effects, make sure you read the enclosed Patient Information Leaflet thoroughly before taking Tamiflu.
Tamiflu and alcohol
There is no evidence to suggest it isn't safe to drink alcohol in moderation when taking Tamiflu. However, drinking alcohol when you're suffering from the flu may increase the severity of your symptoms, so you should avoid or limit your alcohol intake to give yourself the best chance of recovery.
Tamiflu and pregnancy
Pregnant women may be advised not to use Tamiflu. You must consult your doctor before taking Tamiflu if you’re pregnant, you think you might be pregnant, you’re planning to have a baby, or you’re breastfeeding. They can advise you and help you decide if Tamiflu is right for you.
Before taking Tamiflu, you should make sure you’ve read and understood the information provided in the Patient Information Leaflet.
Tamiflu should not be used by people who are allergic to the active ingredient or any of the other ingredients listed below.
Speak to your doctor before taking Tamiflu if you have problems with your kidneys, liver or heart. You should also tell a doctor as soon as possible if you notice changes to your mood while taking Tamiflu.
If you're currently taking or have recently stopped taking any other prescribed or non-prescribed medicine, you must tell a doctor before using Tamiflu.
- Tamiflu Patient Information Leaflet: https://www.medicines.org.uk/emc/product/8050/pil