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MEDcare Minute

Things you should know about the leading anti-viral flu treatments!

When flu season rolls around, we all know that getting an annual flu shot is the best first line of defense. But sometimes, even after getting a flu shot, or during the two-week period while our bodies develop the immunity, we can still end up sick from the flu. Luckily, there are treatment options available in the form of anti-virals. While they all have in common that they should be started within two days of becoming ill, here is a list of the key differences in the four flu anti-virals most recommended by the CDC.

Oseltamivir phosphate AKA Tamiflu®

  • Available as pill or liquid suspension taken orally
  • Usually taken twice daily for 5 days
  • FDA approved as treatment for people 14 days and older, and as a preventative for people 3 months and older
  • Most common side effect: nausea and vomiting

Zanamivir aka Relenza®

  • Powder administered via inhaler
  • Usually taken twice daily for five days
  • FDA approved as early treatment for people 7 years and older, and as preventative in people 5 years and older
  • Not recommended for those with breathing problems like asthma or COPD
  • Most common side effect: bronchospasms

Peramivir aka Rapivab®

  • Given intravenously over period of 15-30 minutes in a healthcare facility
  • FDA approved for people 2 years and older
  • Most common side effect: diarrhea

Baloxavir marboxil aka Xofluza®

  • Single dose taken orally
  • Approved for people 12 years and older
  • Since there is not yet information about the use of Baloxavir in these groups, it is not recommended for those who are pregnant, breastfeeding, hospitalized, or outpatients with complicated or progressive illness.

If you still need your flu shot, or if you start to feel unwell, your local MEDcare is here to help! Our centers are open 8:00 am to 8:00 pm- no appointment necessary! You can also use our Save My Spot option here. If you need us, we look forward to helping you Get Better. Faster!

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