This website contains information for New Zealand patients about Tamiflu. It is not intended to replace the advice of your pharmacist or doctor. Please view the information carefully and if you have any questions about your symptoms or Tamiflu please ask your pharmacist or doctor.

Tamiflu® (oseltamivir) 75 mg capsules is a Pharmacist Only Medicine for the treatment or prevention of influenza in adults and children aged 13 years and older who have been exposed to the influenza virus. For children 12 years of age and under, Tamiflu 75 mg capsules is a Prescription Only Medicine for the treatment or prevention of influenza. Tamiflu 6 mg/mL oral suspension is a Prescription Only Medicine for the treatment or prevention of influenza in adults and children 1 year of age and older. Do not take Tamiflu if you have had it in the past and experienced an allergic-type reaction while taking it.

Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have kidney disease or hereditary fructose intolerance. Possible side effects: Common: nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, stomach pain, and headache. In children, in addition to above, ear problems or infection, nose bleeds, discharge from eyes and breathlessness or wheezing. Rare: Sudden signs of allergy such as rash, swelling of face, lips or tongue. Chest infection with fever, chills and shortness of breath. Yellowing of the skin, dark coloured urine or severe stomach pain. Diarrhoea with blood. Patients or their caregivers should look out for signs of abnormal behaviour (convulsions, delirium, severe confusion).

Ask your doctor or pharmacist if Tamiflu is right for you. Use strictly as directed. If symptoms continue or you have side effects or would like further information, please contact your health professional or visit http://www.medsafe.govt.nz/Consumers/cmi/t/tamiflucap.pdf for Consumer Medicine Information. Tamiflu is an unfunded medicine. You will need to pay for this medicine. A consultation fee may apply.

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About Tamiflu

Tamiflu is an antiviral medicine that contains the active ingredient oseltamivir. Tamiflu is used to treat influenza (flu) and does so by attacking the virus that causes influenza, stopping it from spreading further inside your body. By stopping the spread of the virus, Tamiflu reduces the severity of influenza symptoms and shortens the duration of the illness allowing patients to get back to their normal activities faster – Important for people who want to limit time away from their normal schedule

Taking Tamiflu also reduces the chance of developing more serious complications such as pneumonia, sinusitis or bronchitis.

Antiviral medicines such as Tamiflu treat the influenza virus at the source, stopping it from replicating and spreading further inside the body. Other cold and flu products only treat the symptoms of influenza and antibiotics only treat bacterial infections and are not effective against viral infections such as influenza.

Tamiflu is not funded, and you will have to pay for it. Most pharmacies charge between $65 and $75 per course depending on the individual pharmacy. A consultation fee may apply.

Tamiflu is not a substitute for the influenza vaccine (the vaccine acts to prevent certain strains of influenza). For further information on the influenza vaccine please ask your health professional or visit www.influenza.org.nz

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How to get Tamiflu

Tamiflu capsules for adults and children 13 years and older who have been exposed to the influenza virus are a Pharmacist Only Medicine. Tamiflu suspension and Tamiflu capsules for children 12 years of age and under are available on prescription.

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Taking Tamiflu

Tamiflu can be taken with or without food, but with food is recommended as Tamiflu is less likely to cause an upset stomach.

Tamiflu Dosing for the TREATMENT of Influenza

It is important to begin treatment with Tamiflu as soon as you can after you feel the first signs of influenza symptoms. Tamiflu is most effective if started within 2 days of onset of symptoms. It is important that you complete the entire treatment course even if you start to feel better half way through.

Adults and children 13 years and older

Take ONE 75mg capsule, twice a day for 5 days, (one capsule in the morning and one capsule in the evening) preferably with food.

Children younger than 12 years of age or patients unable to swallow capsules

A Tamiflu suspension is available on prescription. Your doctor will tell you how much suspension you will need to take and how often. The recommended dose is dependant on the weight of the child and you should check the accurate dose with you pharmacist or doctor.

Tamiflu Dosing for the PREVENTION of Influenza

Tamiflu should be started within 2 days of exposure. It is important that you take the entire course.

Adults and children 13 years and older

Take ONE 75mg capsule once a day for 10 days preferably with food.

Children younger than 12 years of age or patients unable to swallow capsules

A Tamiflu suspension is available on prescription. Your doctor will tell you how much suspension to take and how often. The recommended dose is dependant on the weight of the child and you should check the accurate dose with your pharmacist or doctor.

Tamiflu is not approved for use in children younger than 1 year of age.

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General Precautions

There are other kinds of infections that can appear to be similar to the influenza virus but require different types of treatments. This is particularly important in the case of children where certain conditions may mimic influenza symptoms. Contact your pharmacist or doctor if you start to feel worse or develop new symptoms during or after your treatment with Tamiflu.

Taking Tamiflu should not affect your decision to have an annual influenza vaccination.

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Side Effects

Tamiflu is an antiviral medicine and like all medicines can have side effects.

The most common side effects experienced with Tamiflu are nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, stomach pain and headache. Children may also experience ear problems or infection, nose bleeds and discharge from the eyes. If you develop an allergic reaction or severe rash, stop taking Tamiflu and contact your doctor or pharmacist immediately. Patients or their caregivers should also look out for signs of abnormal behavior.

This is not a complete list of side effects.

For more information about Tamiflu, ask your healthcare professional or click here http://www.medsafe.govt.nz/Consumers/cmi/t/tamiflucap.pdf to view the full Tamiflu Consumer Medicine Information.

If you have experienced a suspected side-effect to Tamiflu, please report this via the following link. http://report2.roche.com

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About Influenza

The following information is intended to help you understand more about the influenza virus. It is not intended to replace the advice of your doctor or pharmacist. For further information please consult your healthcare professional.

What is it?

Influenza is a contagious infection caused by the influenza virus which typically occurs during the autumn and winter months.

Influenza is characterised by a series of symptoms that can affect the entire body. Typical symptoms of influenza include fever, headache, body aches and pains, cough and extreme tiredness. Symptoms are generally severe and occur suddenly. People suffering with influenza can be unwell for up to 14 days.

Many people think they've had the 'flu' when all they have had is the common cold.

Influenza is not like a common cold. It is a serious viral infection that usually starts in your nose and throat and can spread throughout your entire body. Influenza makes people feel miserable and for some individuals can result in hospitalisation or even death. Special care is required when children, the elderly or those with other health problems get influenza as serious complications are more likely to develop.

The influenza virus hits suddenly and is highly contagious. Many people say it's like being 'hit by a truck'. Approximately 400 deaths each year in New Zealand are related to influenza infections.

For the vast majority, influenza can stop you from completing your normal daily activities such as family commitments, work, sport and school.

How do you get it?

Influenza is a highly contagious airborne virus spread from person to person by the fine spray expelled when an infected person sneezes or coughs. The strains of virus that cause influenza are always around us and continually change, therefore even those who have had influenza before are just as likely to catch it again as those who haven't had it.

When do you get it?

Influenza usually arrives in the autumn to winter months (May to September) and is characterised by community outbreaks which can last for six to eight weeks.

Who is likely to catch influenza?

Influenza is easily transmitted and everyone is at risk of catching it. Influenza can infect and strike down even the healthiest individuals, as well as those who have impaired immune systems or those that are in poor physical health.

Certain people are at high risk of contracting influenza and developing more serious complications. The New Zealand government provides free vaccination to many of these high–risk groups including:

  • All people 65 years of age and over
  • People under 65 years of age, including children, with chronic illnesses such as respiratory disease, cardiac disease, renal disease, diabetes and other certain conditions
  • Pregnant women

Impact of Influenza

Influenza is a significant public health concern in New Zealand. Each year it affects between 10 -20% of our population, many of who develop serious complications that require hospitalisation. This increase in hospital admissions causes a major strain on our medical resources. Unfortunately influenza can also be life-threatening and cause death amongst a small number of people.

The effects of influenza are widespread and costly. The social and financial impact on society is significant, particularly in the workplace, with sufferers often requiring several consecutive days off work.

Recognising the Symptoms – Influenza or Common Cold

Many people confuse influenza with a bad cold. Influenza has a sudden onset and symptoms can last for up to 2 weeks, keeping you in bed for a number of days.

You will often experience a combination of symptoms with influenza or a cold. It is important to know the difference because if it's influenza, Tamiflu can shut down the virus, provided you act fast.

The common symptoms of influenza include:

You don't need to experience all of these symptoms to have the flu. If you have one or two, it's recommended that you see your pharmacist. Influenza symptoms can be mild or severe — and if they're mild they can become severe without any warning. Be aware of your body and regularly monitor your temperature.

The following Symptom Chart highlights the differences between influenza and the common cold or you can visit www.haveigotflu.co.nz and take the self-diagnostic test to see if you really have got the flu.

  SYMPTOMS INFLUENZA COLD
F Fever/Chills Common Uncommon
A Aches and pains Common and severe; prominent headache Mild; headaches rare
C Cough Common Less common, mild to moderate
T Tiredness Common and severe Mild
S Sudden onset Sudden Gradual

If you think you might have influenza and can't afford to put work or family life on hold, you need to act fast. See your pharmacist or doctor within the first 48 hours of symptoms and ask about Tamiflu.

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