Oseltamivir is an antiviral medication that is used to treat and prevent influenza (flu) infections. It is sold under the brand name Tamiflu and is available in capsule, powder, and liquid form.
Oseltamivir works by inhibiting the neuraminidase enzyme, which is found on the surface of the influenza virus. By blocking this enzyme, oseltamivir prevents the virus from spreading and infecting other cells in the body.
The medication is most effective when taken within 48 hours of the onset of flu symptoms. It can help reduce the severity of symptoms and the duration of the illness by about one day. It may also reduce the risk of complications from the flu, such as pneumonia.
Oseltamivir is generally safe for most people, but it may cause some side effects. Common side effects include nausea, vomiting, and headache. Less common side effects include allergic reactions, behavioral changes, and seizures.
The medication is available by prescription only and should be used only under the supervision of a healthcare provider. It is important to take oseltamivir as directed, even if you start feeling better before the medication is finished. Failure to complete the full course of treatment could lead to the development of drug-resistant strains of the influenza virus.
Overall, oseltamivir is a useful tool in the fight against influenza, particularly when used early in the course of the illness. However, it is not a substitute for good hygiene practices, such as frequent handwashing and covering your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze, which are important in preventing the spread of the flu.