It is strongly recommended for the people infected with flu to consult a healthcare provider for treatment as soon as possible. It is essential for the patients to get treated within 48 hours subsequent to the beginning of flu. The drugs used in the treatment of flu helps in reducing the time that flu symptoms last and returning faster to daily routine. The main drugs used in the treatment are Tamilflu, Relenza, Flumadine and Symmetrel. Their benefits are given as follows
Tamiflu and Relenza
Tamilflu is prescribed for adults and infants who are elder than 1 year and Relenza is meant for adults as well as children elder than 7 years. These drugs are meant for people those affected with uncomplicated flu and have been experiencing flu for less than 2 days. These drugs help in the treatment for both type A and B influenza.
Flumadine is prescribed especially for type A influenza. This drug has no effect on type B influenza infections.
Symmetrel can be given to adults and children elder than 1 year for type A influenza treatment alone. This drug can be used for prevention purposes also. Though both Flumadine and Symmetrel are used in the treatment of type A influenza, Symmetrel has been found to have more side-effects comparatively. The most commonly caused side-effects are lightheadedness and sleeplessness.
Tamilflu is available in the pill form and can be taken twice in a day for 5 days in the case of flu symptoms in adults. In the case of flu symptoms in children, the dosage depends on the weight of the child. If the patient is unable to swallow the pill, Tamilflu can be taken in the form of a liquid suspension.
Symmetrel and Flumadine are also available in the pill form and taken orally. Relenza alone is available in the powder form and is taken by inhaling through a device called diskhaler. The suggested dosage is two inhalations twice, once in morning and once in night for a period of 5 days.
Precautions to be taken
There are some people who may be allergic to flu medications or some of its ingredients if not the whole drug. Such people are advised not to take them. Relenza is one such drug which is not prescribed for people affected with chronic respiratory diseases like asthma, COPD, etc. it has been found through studies that people with these diseases had wheezing as a side-effect after consuming Relenza. Hence if such an affected person is prescribed Relenza, the doctor must also prescribe a fast-acting bronchodilator which can be inhaled soon after the drug is taken in order to avoid wheezing. Tamilflu dosage must also be altered based on the variety of kidney disease that the patient has.
All these drugs are harmful during the periods of pregnancy and nursing and are not prescribed for routine use at such times. Research is still under process for the drug’s effect on the unborn child when taken by pregnant women. There are evidences for neuraminidase inhibitors interacting with other drugs. Hence it is essential to consult the healthcare provider before taking antiviral medication for flu treatment.
Viral Resistance to Drugs
Drug-resistant influenza viruses might occur in nearly one-third of the patients who are prescribed Symmetrel or Flumadine for flu treatment. There are studies confirming the resistance development for the drugs Relenza and Tamilflu. Hence the research on neuraminidase inhibitor-resistance is being carried out.