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The eMC  

Last Updated 10 Jul 2015

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Tamiflu 75mg capsules

Tamiflu (Tam-ee-flew) is a medicine which is used in preventing influenza and treating influenza. Tamiflu contains oseltamivir phosphate. It is supplied by Roche Products Limited.

The information in this Medicine Guide for Tamiflu varies according to the condition being treated and the particular preparation used.

There are 4 preparations of Tamiflu available. If Tamiflu 75mg capsules is not the preparation you are looking for, please select from the drop down list below.

Select your preparation (type) of Tamiflu

Tamiflu 75mg capsules

Information specific to Tamiflu 75mg capsules when used in swine flu

Your medicine

Tamiflu belongs to a class of medicines called neuraminidase (new-ram-in-id-ayz) inhibitors. It is used to prevent or treat flu.

Flu is caused by a virus called influenza virus. Flu has similar symptoms to a cold but they are usually worse and last longer. The symptoms are usually: fever; blocked and runny nose; cough; sore throat; aches and pains; tiredness; and a general feeling of being unwell. Flu can be a serious illness for elderly people or people who have certain types of medical conditions such as: a weakened immune system; breathing problems like asthma; or heart problems.

The influenza virus gets into the body through the mouth or nose. It makes copies of itself (replicates) in the cells lining the airways ( respiratory tract). The viruses then spread to more and more cells in the airways and this makes the infection more serious. If the virus doesn't spread a lot, the symptoms should be milder and last for a shorter amount of time.

Tamiflu blocks the effects of a chemical called neuraminidase that is made by the influenza virus. The virus needs neuraminidase to spread in the airways. By blocking the effects of neuraminidase Tamiflu reduces the spread of the influenza virus in the airways. This makes it easier for the body's immune system to clear-up the infection.

Other information about Tamiflu:

  • for Tamiflu to work effectively you must take it as soon as possible after coming into contact with the influenza virus
    • to treat flu: take Tamiflu within two days of the flu symptoms appearing
    • to prevent flu after being exposed to the virus: take Tamiflu within two days of coming into contact with somebody who had flu
  • if you are using Tamiflu for seasonal prevention (before coming into contact with someone who has flu), you should use it for a maximum of 6 weeks
  • if you have a weakened immune system and are using Tamiflu for seasonal prevention (before coming into contact with someone who has flu), your prescriber may tell you to use it for up to 12 weeks
  • Tamiflu is not used for seasonal prevention in children

Do not share your medicine with other people. It may not be suitable for them and may harm them.

The pharmacy label on your medicine tells you how much medicine you should take. It also tells you how often you should take your medicine. This is the dose that you and your prescriber have agreed you should take. You should not change the dose of your medicine unless you are told to do so by your prescriber.

If you feel that the medicine is making you unwell or you do not think it is working, then talk to your prescriber.

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When to take your medicine

Some medicines work best if they are taken at a specific time of day. Getting the most from your medicine can also be affected by what you eat, when you eat and the times at which you take other medicines. Make sure you follow any specific instructions given to you by your prescriber or that are in the Patient Information Leaflet that comes with this medicine.

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How to take your medicine

Some medicines have specific instructions about how to take them. This is because they work better when taken correctly. These instructions can include getting the right dose and special instructions for preparing the medicine. Make sure you follow any specific instructions given to you by your prescriber or that are in the Patient Information Leaflet that comes with this medicine.

In the case of Tamiflu:

  • it is important to take the right dose of this medicine - you need to measure the amount of liquid accurately
  • you must use a medicine measure to make sure you get the correct dose
  • you can use a 5ml medicine spoon or an oral syringe. You must measure the correct dose with an oral syringe if your prescribed dose is less than 5ml
  • you can get measuring spoons and oral syringes from your pharmacist who can show you how to use them
  • if you have problems swallowing, Tamiflu capsules may be taken in several ways. Open the capsule and add the capsule contents to a maximum of 1 teaspoon of sweetened product such as:

    • sugar water
    • chocolate syrup
    • cherry syrup
    • dessert toppings such as caramel or fudge sauce
    gently stir the mixture and then swallow it immediately after preparation
  • speak to your pharmacist or read the Patient Information Leaflet for more information on how to prepare a dose or other ways of taking Tamiflu if you have swallowing difficulties

If you are having problems taking this form of Tamiflu, you should talk to your prescriber or pharmacist. They may be able to give you advice on other ways to take your medicine or other preparations that are easier for you to take.

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Taking too much of your medicine

Taking extra doses of some medicines can be harmful. In some cases even one extra dose can cause you problems. If you take extra doses of your medicine, you must get medical advice immediately. You may need a test to assess the effect of taking extra doses. This is because the effects of taking too much medicine are very complex so it is very important that you seek medical advice.

Contact your prescriber, pharmacist, specialist clinic or call 111 for advice.

Make sure you take all of your medicine containers with you if you are advised to go to hospital.

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Stopping your medicine

If you are not having any problems with this medicine, do not stop taking it, even if you feel better, unless you have completed the course or you are advised to stop taking it by your prescriber.

If you are in any doubt, contact your prescriber, pharmacist, specialist clinic or call 111.

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Looking after your medicine

The instructions on how you should keep your medicine are on the pharmacy label. You should keep your medicine in the original container. This will help to keep your medicine in the best condition and also allow you to check the instructions. Do not take the medicine if the packaging appears to have been tampered with or if the medicine shows any signs of damage. Make sure that the medicine is out of the sight and reach of children.

In the case of Tamiflu:

  • do not store in temperatures above 25°C

You must not take the medicine after the expiry date shown on the packaging. If you have any unused medicine, return it to your pharmacist who will dispose of it safely.

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Whether this medicine is suitable for you

Tamiflu is not suitable for everyone and some people should never use it. Other people should only use it with special care. It is important that the person prescribing this medicine knows your full medical history.

Your prescriber may only prescribe this medicine with special care or may not prescribe it at all if you:

Furthermore the prescriber may only prescribe this medicine with special care or may not prescribe it at all for a child who is under the age of one year or for a child who has liver problems.

As part of the process of assessing suitability to take this medicine a prescriber may also arrange tests:

  • to check that this medicine is not having any undesired effects

Over time it is possible that Tamiflu can become unsuitable for some people, or they may become unsuitable for it. If at any time it appears that Tamiflu has become unsuitable, it is important that the prescriber is contacted immediately.

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A medicine is only made available to the public if the clinical trials have shown that the benefits of taking the medicine outweigh the risks.

Once a medicine has been licensed, information on the medicine's effects, both intended and unintended, is continuously recorded and updated.

Some side-effects may be serious while others may only be a mild inconvenience.

Everyone's reaction to a medicine is different. It is difficult to predict which side-effects you will have from taking a particular medicine, or whether you will have any side-effects at all. The important thing is to tell your prescriber or pharmacist if you are having problems with your medicine.

Very common: More than 1 in 10 adults or adolescents who take Tamiflu

Very common: More than 1 in 10 children who take Tamiflu

Common: More than 1 in 100 adults or adolescents who take Tamiflu

Common: More than 1 in 100 children who take Tamiflu

Uncommon: More than 1 in 1000 adults or adolescents who take Tamiflu

Uncommon: More than 1 in 1000 children who take Tamiflu

Rare: More than 1 in 10,000 adults or adolescents who take Tamiflu

If you feel unwell or if you have concerns about a side-effect, you will need to seek advice. If you feel very ill, get medical help straight away. Contact your prescriber, pharmacist, nurse or call 111.

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Taking other medicines

If you are taking more than one medicine they may interact with each other. At times your prescriber may decide to use medicines that interact, in other cases this may not be appropriate.

The decision to use medicines that interact depends on your specific circumstances. Your prescriber may decide to use medicines that interact, if it is believed that the benefits of taking the medicines together outweigh the risks. In such cases, it may be necessary to alter your dose or monitor you more closely.

Tell your prescriber the names of all the medicines that you are taking so that they can consider all possible interactions. This includes all the medicines which have been prescribed by your GP, hospital doctor, dentist, nurse, health visitor, midwife or pharmacist. You must also tell your prescriber about medicines which you have bought over the counter without prescriptions.

The following medicines may interact with Tamiflu:

If you are taking Tamiflu and any of the above medicines, make sure your prescriber knows about it.

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Complementary preparations and vitamins

Medicines can interact with complementary preparations and vitamins. In general, there is not much information available about interactions between medicines and complementary preparations or vitamins.

If you are planning to take or are already taking any complementary preparations and vitamins you should ask your prescriber whether there are any known interactions with Tamiflu.

Your prescriber can advise whether it is appropriate for you to take combinations that are known to interact. They can also discuss with you the possible effect that the complementary preparations and vitamins may have on your condition.

If you experience any unusual effects while taking this medicine in combination with complementary preparations and vitamins, you should tell your prescriber.

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Driving and operating machinery

When taking any medicine you should be aware that it might interfere with your ability to drive or operate machinery safely.

Like all medicines Tamiflu can cause side effects. You should see how this medicine affects you and then judge if you are safe to drive or operate machinery. If you are in any doubt, talk to your prescriber.

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Medicines can interact with certain foods. In some cases, this may be harmful and your prescriber may advise you to avoid certain foods.

In the case of Tamiflu:

  • there are no specific foods that you must exclude from your diet when taking Tamiflu
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Alcohol can interact with certain medicines.

In the case of Tamiflu:

  • there are no known interactions between alcohol and Tamiflu
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Family planning and pregnancy

Most medicines, in some way, can affect the development of a baby in the womb. The effect on the baby differs between medicines and also depends on the stage of pregnancy that you have reached when you take the medicine.

In the case of Tamiflu:

  • you should only take this medicine during pregnancy if your doctor thinks that you need it

You need to discuss your specific circumstances with your doctor to weigh up the overall risks and benefits of taking this medicine. You and your doctor can make a decision about whether you are going to take this medicine during pregnancy.

If the decision is that you should not have Tamiflu, then you should discuss whether there is an alternative medicine that you could take during pregnancy.

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Certain medicines can pass into breast milk and may reach your baby through breast-feeding.

In the case of Tamiflu:

  • you should only take this medicine while breast-feeding if your doctor thinks you need it

Before you have your baby you should discuss breast-feeding with your doctor or midwife. They will help you decide what is best for you and your baby based on the benefits and risks associated with this medicine. You should only breast-feed your baby while taking this medicine on the advice of your doctor or midwife.

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Ingredients of your medicine

Medicines contain active ingredients. They may also contain other, additional ingredients that help ensure the stability, safety and effectiveness of the medicine. They are also added to improve the medicine's taste and appearance and to make it easier to take. Some may be used to prolong the life of the medicine.

You should check that you are able to take the ingredients in your medicine, especially if you have any allergies.

Tamiflu contains:

  • black iron oxide (E172)
  • croscarmellose sodium
  • FD and C blue 2 (indigo carmine, E132)
  • povidone
  • pregelatinised maize starch
  • red iron oxide (E172)
  • shellac
  • sodium stearyl fumarate
  • talc
  • titanium dioxide (E171)
  • yellow iron oxide (E172)

If you are not able to take any of the ingredients in your medicine, talk to your prescriber or pharmacist to see if they can suggest an alternative medicine. If you have reacted badly to Tamiflu before, do not take Tamiflu. Talk to your prescriber, pharmacist or nurse as soon as possible.

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Tamiflu, Version 24, last updated 10 Jul 2015