18 July 2008

TamifluAntiviral drugs are an important second line of defense in the prevention and treatment of flu.
  • Antiviral drugs are important in the treatment and prevention influenza.
  • Influenza antiviral drugs can be used to treat the flu or to prevent infection with flu viruses.
  • Treatment with antivirals should begin within 48 hours of getting sick, and can reduce your symptoms and shorten the time you are sick.
  • When used for prevention, antivirals are 70% to 90% effective in preventing infection with influenza viruses.
  • Antiviral drugs are effective across all age and risk groups.
Two antiviral drugs (oseltamivir, brand name Tamiflu®, and zanamivir, brand name Relenza®) are approved for treatment of the flu.
  • Oseltamivir is approved to treat flu in people one year of age and older.
  • Zanamivir is approved to treat flu in people 7 years and older.
  • These are prescription medications, and a doctor should be consulted before the drugs are used.
  • Antiviral treatment lasts for 5 days and should be started within 2 days of illness, so if you get flu-like symptoms, seek medical care early on.

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