zanamivir (generic name)

It is used to prevent and treat flu infections caused by influenza A or B virus
(za NA mi veer)
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What is this medicine?

ZANAMIVIR (za NA mi veer) is an antiviral medicine. It is used to prevent and treat flu infections caused by influenza A or B virus. It will not work for colds, other types of flu, or other viral infections.

What should I tell my health care provider before I take this medicine?

They need to know if you have any of the following conditions:
  • kidney disease
  • live in nursing home
  • lung or breathing disease, like asthma
  • serious medical condition
  • an unusual or allergic reaction to zanamivir, milk proteins, other medicines, foods, dyes, or preservatives
  • pregnant or trying to get pregnant
  • breast-feeding

How should I use this medicine?

This medicine is inhaled through the mouth. Follow the directions on the prescription label. Do not use a spacer device with this inhaler. Take your medicine at regular intervals. Do not take your medicine more often than directed. Do not stop taking except on your doctor's advice. Make sure that you are using your inhaler correctly. Ask you doctor or health care provider if you have any questions.

If you are also using a bronchodilator inhaler, like albuterol, use that inhaler first. Wait 5 minutes or more before using this medicine.

Talk to your pediatrician regarding the use of this medicine in children. While this drug may be prescribed for children as young as 5 years of age for selected conditions, precautions do apply.

What if I miss a dose?

If you miss a dose, use it as soon as you can. If it is almost time for your next dose, use only that dose. Do not use double or extra doses.

What may interact with this medicine?

  • live attenuated influenza vaccine

What should I watch for while using this medicine?

Tell your doctor or healthcare professional if your symptoms do not start to get better or if they get worse.

If you have asthma, chronic bronchitis, or emphysema you may be at a higher risk for having breathing problems while you are taking this medicine. Make sure to have a fast acting inhaler to treat breathing problems. If your symptoms get worse or if you need your short acting inhalers more often, call your doctor right away.

If you have the flu, you may be at an increased risk of developing seizures, confusion, or abnormal behavior. This occurs early in the illness, and more frequently in children and teens. These events are not common, but may result in accidental injury to the patient. Families and caregivers of patients should watch for signs of unusual behavior and contact a doctor or health care professional right away if the patient shows signs of unusual behavior.

To treat the flu, start taking this medicine within 2 days of getting flu symptoms.

This medicine is not a substitute for an annual flu vaccine.

What side effects may I notice from receiving this medicine?

Side effects that you should report to your doctor or health care professional as soon as possible:
  • abnormal behavior
  • allergic reactions like skin rash, itching or hives, swelling of the face, lips, or tongue
  • breathing problems
  • confusion
  • fast, irregular heart beat
  • feeling faint or lightheaded, falls
  • fever
  • hallucinations
  • other ear, nose, or throat infection
  • seizures

Side effects that usually do not require medical attention (report to your doctor or health care professional if they continue or are bothersome):

  • cough
  • diarrhea
  • headache
  • nasal congestion
  • nausea, vomiting

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Last Updated: December 27, 2011
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