Tamiflu and Amantadine – Medicines Against Flu

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Copyright (c) 2008 Vlad Kott

Tamiflu is used to treat some types of influenza (flu) in patients who have had symptoms of the flu for 2 days or less. This drug works by stopping the growth and spread of the flu virus in your body. Tamiflu helps shorten the time you have flu symptoms such as nasal congestion, sore throat, cough, muscle aches, tiredness, headache, fever, and chills.

As the flu virus takes hold in the body, it forms new copies of itself and spreads from cell to cell. Tamiflu fights the virus by preventing the release of new copies from infected cells. Tamiflu is taken in liquid or capsule form.

Tamiflu can prevent the flu as long as you continue taking this medication, but getting a yearly flu shot is still the best way of avoiding the disease entirely. For older adults, those in high-risk situations such as health-care work, and people with an immune deficiency or respiratory disease, vaccination remains a must.

If you have the flu, continue taking it twice daily for 5 days, even if you start to feel better. To prevent the flu, take it once a day for at least 7 days. Protection lasts as long as you take the drug.

If Tamiflu upsets your stomach, try taking it with food. Shake the liquid suspension before each use. If you have kidney disease, cut your daily dose of Tamiflu in half. High doses of Tamiflu can cause nausea and vomiting.

Tamiflu works only on the flu virus. It won’t stop bacterial infections that may have flu-like symptoms or bacterial infections that may develop while you have the flu.

Most problems noted during tests of Tamiflu were indistinguishable from the symptoms of flu. Here are the reactions that showed up more frequently in patients taking the drug.

* Side effects of Tamiflu may include:

Abdominal pain, asthma, bronchitis, cough, diarrhea, ear infection, fatigue, headache, insomnia, nausea, nosebleed, vertigo, vomiting.

If Tamiflu gives you an allergic reaction, avoid it in the future.

It is not known whether Tamiflu is completely safe during pregnancy. If you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant, inform your doctor before taking Tamiflu. Tamiflu may appear in breast milk and could affect a nursing infant. Taking it while breastfeeding is usually not recommended.

Tamiflu will not stop you from giving the flu to others. You should maintain proper hygiene, wash your hands frequently, and avoid situations such as sharing cups and utensils that can spread the virus to others.

Tamiflu does not replace the flu vaccine. You should continue to receive a flu shot each year if your doctor recommends it.

***Amantadine***

Amantadine is an antiviral. It is used to prevent or treat certain influenza infections (type A). It may be given alone or along with flu shots. Amantadine will not work for colds, other types of flu, or other virus infections.

Amantadine also is an antidyskinetic. It is used to treat Parkinson’s disease, sometimes called paralysis agitans or shaking palsy. It may be given alone or with other medicines for Parkinson’s disease. By improving muscle control and reducing stiffness, this medicine allows more normal movements of the body as the disease symptoms are reduced.

Amantadine is also used to treat stiffness and shaking caused by certain medicines used to treat nervous, mental, and emotional conditions.

* Side effects

– Less common

Blurred vision; confusion (especially in elderly patients); difficult urination (especially in elderly patients); fainting; hallucinations (seeing, hearing, or feeling things that are not there); swelling of hands, feet, or lower legs

– Rare Convulsions (seizures); decreased vision or any change in vision; difficulty in coordination ; fever, chills, or sore throat; increased blood pressure; increase in body movements ; irritation and swelling of the eye; loss of memory; mental depression; severe mood or mental changes; skin rash; slurred speech; thoughts of suicide or attempts at suicide; unexplained shortness of breath.