What is Tamiflu?
Tamiflu is an antiviral medication that comes in the form of oral capsules.
Tamiflu contains the active ingredient oseltamivir, which is an antiviral substance that is effective at treating and preventing both influenza A and B, the viruses that cause flu. Each Tamiflu capsule contains 75 mg 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 viruses as a prophylaxis to prevent them from developing symptoms.
For those that are prescribed Tamiflu, it is taken orally every day for between 5-10 days as directed by a doctor. Tamiflu is, however, not a substitute for the annual flu jab.
You can buy Tamiflu here at The Independent Pharmacy.
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.
Types A and B are the ones that cause seasonal flu — circulating influenza viruses that occur each winter. This includes swine flu (which is caused by influenza type A).
Tamiflu & influenza virus (flu virus)
Tamiflu can be used for the treatment of influenza — stopping the infection from spreading, which prevents cases 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 have come into contact with someone who has the flu and you think you are at risk of influenza infection, you can take Tamiflu within 48 hours.
Tamiflu and coronavirus
Tamiflu is used to treat and prevent symptoms of the flu caused by viruses influenza A and B. The virus that causes symptoms of coronavirus is from a different family and therefore Tamiflu is not effective at treating people infected with coronavirus or preventing you from contracting it.
If you think you have coronavirus, you should not leave your home, call NHS 111 for advice and take ibuprofen and paracetamol to manage your symptoms.
When should you take Tamiflu?
If you already have the flu, Tamiflu can reduce the amount of time that you suffer from the flu and reduce the severity of the symptoms.
It can also be used to prevent you from developing the flu if you have been, or are going to be, exposed to someone who already has it. We are able to prescribe Tamiflu privately for patients who would benefit from these scenarios.
There are more strict guidelines for when Tamiflu can be prescribed on the NHS. This is normally for people who are at high risk of developing health complications as a result of contracting the flu virus.
Risk factors include:
- You're over 65 years old
- You are 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 either been exposed to the flu virus or have had symptoms of flu for less than 48 hours, taking Tamiflu capsules can treat infection and prevent you from becoming increasingly unwell.
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 allows the body’s immune system to combat the virus more easily and quickly.
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 does not reduce the symptoms you are already experiencing, but prevents them from worsening and reduces the duration that you will endure symptoms for.
If you are taking Tamiflu to treat flu (such as a clinically diagnosed influenza case), the recommended treatment time for best results is five days (taking one 75 mg capsule twice a day). For prevention of flu, a treatment course is one 75mg capsule per day, for 10 days. You should notice improvements once your course of treatment is over.
Tamiflu for children
Tamiflu can be taken by children over the age of 1-month-old.
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 need Tamiflu, speak to your doctor.
Is Tamiflu over-the-counter or prescription medicine?
Tamiflu is a prescription medicine — you cannot buy Tamiflu over the counter.
You can buy Tamiflu from The Independent Pharmacy without the need for a prescription from your GP by completing a quick online consultation with our team of medical experts. You just need to answer a few questions so that we can make sure that this is the right treatment for you.
How effective is Tamiflu?
Tamiflu is thought to be very effective at both treating and preventing influenza.
Tamiflu can decrease flu severity by about 40% (as well as complications of the flu such as pneumonia), as well as decrease 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 EMA (European Medicines Agency) has authorised the use of Tamiflu to treat or prevent influenza (flu). However, they specify 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 — there are currently some influenza viruses that are resistant to other types of flu medications.
Tamiflu clinical trials
Multiple clinical trials show that oseltamivir treatment like Tamiflu is efficient against viral activity and in resolving the disease symptoms.