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Cold and Flu Center

Tamiflu Alternatives

author image Charlotte Waterworth
Based in London, Charlotte Waterworth has been writing about health since 2000. Her work has appeared in trade magazines, including "Independent Community Pharmacist," "Pharmafocus," "Current Drug Discovery" and "Hospital Healthcare Europe." She is a member of the European Medical Writers Association. She holds an honors Bachelor of Science in biochemistry and a doctoral degree in gene therapy, both from Cardiff University.
Tamiflu Alternatives
Tamiflu is used to treat influenza. Photo Credit: Wavebreakmedia/iStock/Getty Images

Tamiflu, also known by its generic name, oseltamivir, is an antiviral drug used for the treatment of influenza. It works by slowing down the rate at which viruses infect cells. However, in common with other antivirals, Tamiflu does not eliminate the flu virus from the body, rather it slows its progress. Tamiflu needs to be taken early in the infection cycle in order to be effective. Tamiflu is one of several antiviral medicines for the treatment of flu on the market.

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Relenza, also known by its generic name, Anamivir, works by attacking the flu virus and limiting its spread around the body. In addition, Relenza may stop patients from getting the flu if taken before flu symptoms surface. According to the website of the Food and Drug Administration, Relenza is approved treat people 7 years of age and older who have flu, and can be also for the prevention of flu in people over 5 years of age. Relenza is supplied as a powder for inhalation through a special device called a Diskhaler. Relenza should not be used by people who have asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. As the Relenza powder contains lactose, it should not be used patients who have lactose allergy. Side effects of Relenza treatment include nausea, nasal irritation and cough.


Flumadine, also known by its generic name, rimantadine, is an antiviral drug approved for the treatment and prevention of flu caused by influenza virus A. It is approved for the treatment of flu in in adults over 17 years of age, and for the prevention of type A flu infection in children ages 1 to 16 years. Flumadine is supplied as tablets or as a syrup for oral administration. According to, patients taking Flumadine may become confused and experience dizziness. Other side effects may include nausea, rash and unusual tiredness.


Symmetrel is the brand name for the antiviral drug, amantadine hydrochloride, approved for the treatment and prevention of flu. According to, the mechanism by which Symmetrel exerts its antiviral effects is not fully understood by it may prevent virus assembly during viral replication. Symmetrel is only active against influenza virus A. Symmetrel may have serious adverse effects. notes that Symmetrel has been linked with an increased risk of suicide even in patients who have no previous history of mental illness. The reason behind this is not understood. Symmetrel is not suitable for patients who have a history of epilepsy as it may exacerbate their condition.

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