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For the treatment and prevention of influenza (flu)
The content on this page is not medical advice and should be used for informational purposes only. Always consult your health care provider or pharmacist to determine what medication and dosage are right for you.
Last updatedJuly 26, 2021
Tamiflu is an antiviral drug used for the prevention and treatment of seasonal flu in adults and children over 1 year old.
Rx or OTC
Available by prescription only
When & How
- If treating the flu, take Tamiflu as soon as possible after symptoms start, and no later than 48 hours after first developing symptoms.
- For treating the flu, take twice a day for 5 days
- If taking to prevent flu because of exposure to people with the flu, take once a day, as directed by your doctor.
- Take by mouth, with or without food. Taking with food may help from getting an upset stomach.
- If an oral suspension is not available, capsules may be opened and mixed with sweetened liquid, like chocolate syrup, for children.
- Finish your course of medication even if you feel better.
- Take a missed dose as soon as you remember. If it’s less than 2 hours before the next dose, skip the missed dose and take the next dose at your normal time.
- Call your doctor if your symptoms become worse while taking Tamiflu.
- Do not rely on Tamiflu in place of getting a flu shot.
- Do not use this drug for the common cold.
- Do not give to children younger than 1 year of age.
Discuss with your doctor
- If you are pregnant or plan on pregnancy or are breastfeeding
- If you have kidney disease or a history of kidney disease
- If you have severe liver impairment
- If you have heart disease
- If you have a history of hereditary fructose intolerance
- If you have a known allergy to Tamiflu or any of its components
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What is Tamiflu?
Tamiflu is an antiviral medication used to prevent or treat the flu in people 1 year old and older. It works by attacking flu viruses and keeping them from multiplying.
Tamiflu helps make flu symptoms less severe and reduces how long they last. It should be taken as soon as possible after symptoms begin, and no later than two days after symptoms start, in order to be effective.
It can also be taken to prevent the flu in people at risk of getting the flu from being in close contact with someone who has the flu or if there is an outbreak in their community.
Tamiflu is available as a prescription only.
Capsules and oral suspension
- 30 mg, 45 mg, 75 mg capsules
- 6mg/ml suspension
Similar drugs to Tamiflu
- Relenza (zanamivir)
- Rapivab (peramivir)
Medications may affect individuals differently. Usage of any medication may include side effects and other interactions. Here is a list of known common side effects and interactions. This list is not exhaustive -- there may be other side effects or interactions for this medication that are not listed here. In some cases, the likelihood of side effects or interactions may increase depending on dosage. It’s important to keep in mind that in extreme cases, other serious side effects, even death, may occur. Always consult your health care provider or pharmacist to determine what medication and dosage is right for you.
Nausea (taking to treat the flu)
10% of people experience nausea
Vomiting (taking to treat the flu)
9% of people experience vomiting (taking to treat the flu)
Diarrhea (taking to treat the flu)
7% of people experience diarrhea
Dizziness (taking to treat the flu)
3% of people experience dizziness
Headache (taking for flu prevention)
18% of people experience headache
Fatigue (taking for flu prevention)
8% of people experience fatigue
Nausea (taking for flu prevention)
7% of people experience nausea
Cough (taking for flu prevention)
5% of people experience cough
Diarrhea (taking for flu prevention)
3% of people experience diarrhea
Full list of side effects
- Abdominal pain
- When Tamiflu is prescribed in the suspension form, use an appropriately sized calibrated syringe in order to measure the correct dose.
- In rare cases, Tamiflu may cause anaphylaxis and serious skin reactions.
Tell your doctor if you are taking any of these medications or supplements
- Live attenuated influenza vaccine (nasal vaccination)
Tell your doctor if you have any of these pre-existing conditions
- Kidney disease
- Liver disease
- Heart disease
- Pregnancy and breastfeeding
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