Tamiflu (oseltamivir)

What is Tamiflu?

Tamiflu contains the active ingredient oseltamivir phosphate, which is a type of medicine called a neuraminidase inhibitor. Tamiflu is used as an oral medication to treat and prevent infection with the influenza virus (flu). Tamiflu, which is manufactured by Roche, has been selected as the medication of choice by the World Health Organisation in the event of an outbreak of a flu pandemic.

How to Buy Tamiflu

Tamiflu is a prescription medication so you must complete a consultation form before you can make a purchase. Consultations are entirely free and you are under no obligation to buy Tamiflu.

Free Online Assessment Quick and Without Obligation

How Does Tamiflu Work?

Influenza is a highly contagious virus which relies on a helper chemical on the surface of the virus called neuraminidase, which enables the virus to spread to adjacent cells once it has entered the body. Without the activity of this helper chemical, the virus would be unable to replicate itself and spread to adjacent cells and cause a major infection.

The active metabolite of Tamiflu (oseltamivir) is a neuraminidase inhibitor so it prevents newly formed virus particles leaving the infected cell and spreading, thereby reducing the severity of the infection. Unlike over the counter remedies which only treat the symptoms of flu, Tamiflu actually attacks the virus itself.

How Should I take Tamiflu?

Tamiflu has been shown to reduce the duration of an influenza infection by one day so long as it is taken within 48 hours of the onset of symptoms. It has also been shown to reduce the severity of the symptoms of influenza if taken within this timeframe. The medication is well tolerated and has a good safety profile. Tamiflu is only effective against influenza - it cannot be used for other viral infections.

Tamiflu can be used as a prophylaxis after coming into contact with an infected person. The dosing regimen is slightly different depending on whether the medication is being used as a treatment following the onset of symptoms or if it is being used as a treatment following close contact with an infected person. If you are taking the medication following the onset of symptoms then the adult dose is one capsule twice daily for 5 days. If you are taking Tamiflu as a prophylaxis after coming into contact with an infected person then you will be required to take one capsule per day for 10 days.

Avian Flu

Many people have contacted us in the past about using Tamiflu in the event of a human pandemic of avian flu. The UN has warned that avian flu has the potential to become a global pandemic. Tamiflu has been selected by the World Health Organisation as the medication of choice in the event of an outbreak. Although Avian flu continues to be responsible for deaths in the Far East, there is no evidence of human to human transmission of this H5N1 strain of the influenza virus and it has therefore been eclipsed by news on Swine Flu, which is capable of being passed from human to human.

Swine Flu

Swine Flu is a Type A form of the Influenza Virus, which suggests that it can be serious and can be fatal in certain cases. There have been some fatalities in the UK following an infection with Swine Flu but most people who become infected have mild symptoms and go on to make a full recovery. People who become infected and have a diagnosis of Swine Flu are entitled to free Tamiflu on the NHS. There is a special NHS Swine Flu Hotline where a call centre worker will assess members of the public using a diagnosis algorithm which produces a diagnosis result based on the symptoms that are reported. If influenza is diagnosed then a voucher code is issued and a "flu friend" must be appointed to collect the Tamiflu from a regional collection point. The flu friend will require to have ID for themselves and the person for whom the medication has been prescribed. Apart from in a few isolated cases, Tamiflu has been shown to be effective in combatting this H1N1 strain of the influenza virus.

Is Tamiflu Suitable for you?

Certain people cannot take Tamiflu so it is essential that you complete a consultation form so that one of our doctors can assess whether or not it is suitable for you. If you experience an allergic reaction while on Tamiflu you should notify us or your own doctor straight away.

Tamiflu Side Effects

As with all medications, Tamiflu can produce side effects but these are not very common. The most common side effects reported have been: rash; nausea; vomiting and abdominal pain.

Free Online Assessment Quick and Without Obligation
Reviewed by: Dr Loraine Haslam MBBS, DRCOG, DFSRH, LoC SDI, LoC IUT, MRCGP
GMC registration number: 4524038
Date: 9 June 2024
Next review: 8 June 2026
All UK registered doctors can have their registration checked on
The Medical Register at the GMC website.

Information Leaflet

Source and further information

Tamiflu Reviews By Our Patients

  • Overall Rating
    Based on 1 review
  • ★★★★★
    Very effective. Would use again, if required.
    James Maddock - 13/01/20

Tamiflu News

  • Tamiflu Resistant Flu Virus Examined

    Although the most notable outbreak of the swine-flu peaked in 2009, the reports regarding the virus and its treatment have continued to make headlines in mainstream media. A few days ago, researchers in Australia presented findings that indicated that a cluster of virus samples showed that it was…

    Read full article >
  • Support For BMJ Tamiflu Open Data Campaign

    The editor or the BMJ has written to the chairman of NICE requesting that they withdraw their recommendation on Tamiflu. While we support the open data campaign by the BMJ, we are not supportive of the NICE recommendation being withdrawn prior to the review of the data that have been withheld by…

    Read full article >
  • Tamiflu Supply Shortage in Pharmacies

    It has been reported that supplies of Tamiflu, the antiviral prescribed for the treatment of flu, are low and according to the Department of Health, this is not a national shortage but rather local supplies experiencing temporary depletion. The NHS however says that this is an issue concerning the…

    Read full article >
We use cookies on this website. By using this site, you agree that we may store and access cookies on your device. Find out more Close