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Drug Guide    Z   Zanamivir

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Zanamivir is used to treat symptoms caused by the flu virus (influenza) in adults and children 7 and older. It helps make the symptoms (e.g., stuffy nose, cough, sore throat, fever/chills, aches, tiredness) less severe and shortens the recovery time by about 1 day.This medication works by stopping the flu virus from growing. It is not a substitute for the flu vaccine. (See also Notes section.)Zanamivir may also be used to prevent the flu (e.g., in household members exposed to a flu sufferer).

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 Zanamivir images:

OverviewPhotosHow To UseSide EffectsPrecautionsMissed DoseDrug Interactions

Zanamivir is used to treat symptoms caused by the flu virus (influenza) in adults and children 7 and older. It helps make the symptoms (e.g., stuffy nose, cough, sore throat, fever/chills, aches, tiredness) less severe and shortens the recovery time by about 1 day.This medication works by stopping the flu virus from growing. It is not a substitute for the flu vaccine. (See also Notes section.)Zanamivir may also be used to prevent the flu (e.g., in household members exposed to a flu sufferer).
  • Do not share this medication with others.This medication has been prescribed for your current condition only.
  • Do not use it later for another infection unless told to do so by your doctor.
  • A different medication may be necessary in those cases.This medication is not a substitute for the flu vaccine.
  • Consult your doctor about the risks and important benefits of receiving a yearly flu shot to lower your chances of getting the flu.

  • Store at room temperature at 77 degrees F (25 degrees C) away from light and moisture.
  • Brief storage between 59-86 degrees F (15-30 degrees C) is permitted.
  • Do not puncture the foil blister until just before your dose is to be used.
  • Do not store in the bathroom.
  • Keep all medicines away from children and pets.

How To Use
  • Read the Patient Information Leaflet provided by your pharmacist and learn all usage instructions before you start using zanamivir.
  • If you have any questions, consult your doctor or pharmacist.Inhale the medication through the mouth, generally 2 inhalations twice daily (about 12 hours apart) for 5 days or as directed by your doctor.
  • When possible, take two doses (2 inhalations each) on the first day of treatment, waiting at least 2 hours between doses.Remove the cover on the disk inhaler.
  • Before use, check the mouthpiece to be sure it is clean and free of particles.
  • Load the medication disk into the disk inhaler.
  • Puncture one medication blister.
  • Keep disk inhaler level so that the medication will not spill.
  • Breathe out through the mouth, put the mouthpiece into your mouth, and breathe in deeply.
  • Hold your breath for a few seconds so that the medication will stay in your lungs.
  • If you have been directed to inhale a second time, advance to the next medication blister and repeat the process.
  • Once you have taken the number of inhalations prescribed, replace the cover of the disk inhaler.If a child is using this medication, a parent or other responsible adult should supervise the child to make sure the zanamivir is taken properly.This medication works best when the amount of medicine in your body is kept at a constant level.
  • Take the drug at evenly spaced intervals (e.g., every 12 hours).Continue to take this medication until the full prescribed amount is finished, even if symptoms improve.
  • Stopping the medication too early may allow the virus to continue to grow, resulting in a relapse of the infection.
  • If your condition persists or worsens, contact your doctor or pharmacist.It is recommended that this medication be started within 48 hours of the beginning of flu symptoms.If you have breathing problems (asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease-COPD) and are scheduled to use inhaled bronchodilators (e.g., albuterol) at the same time as zanamivir, use the asthma medication before using zanamivir.
  • Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more details.

Side Effects
  • Nausea, diarrhea, dizziness, or headache may occur.
  • Because this medication is an inhaled powder, you may experience increased cough after using this medication.
  • If cough or any of these other effects persist or worsen, notify your doctor or pharmacist promptly.Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects.
  • Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.This medication can cause breathing problems (e.g., bronchospasm), which in rare cases can be fatal.
  • If you have lung/breathing problems and are using this medication, have a fast-acting inhaled bronchodilator (e.g., albuterol inhaler) readily available.
  • If you experience breathing problems such as wheezing or shortness of breath, stop using zanamivir and contact your doctor immediately.
  • Ask your doctor or pharmacist for details.A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is unlikely, but seek immediate medical attention if it occurs.
  • Symptoms of a serious allergic reaction may include: rash, itching, swelling, severe dizziness, trouble breathing.If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.

  • Before taking zanamivir, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or to milk proteins (not lactose intolerance); or if you have any other allergies.Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: lung or breathing problems (e.g., asthma, COPD), heart disease, kidney problems.This drug may make you dizzy; use caution while engaging in activities requiring alertness such as driving or using machinery.
  • Limit alcoholic beverages.This drug may have less effect on children because they are less likely to inhale this medication correctly.This medication should be used only when clearly needed during pregnancy.
  • Discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor.It is not known whether this drug is passed into breast milk.
  • Consult your doctor before breast-feeding.

Missed Dose
  • If you miss a dose, use it as soon as you remember.
  • Do not take the missed dose if it is within 2 hours of your next dose.
  • In that case, skip the missed dose and resume your usual dosing schedule.
  • Do not double the dose to catch up.

Drug Interactions
  • Your healthcare professionals (e.g., doctor or pharmacist) may already be aware of any possible drug interactions and may be monitoring you for it.
  • Do not start, stop or change the dosage of any medicine before checking with them first.Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist of all prescription and nonprescription/herbal products you may use, especially of: inhaled medications (e.g., albuterol).

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CONDITIONS OF USE: The information in this database is intended to supplement, not substitute for, the expertise and judgement of healthcare professionals. The information is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, drug interactions or adverse effects, nor should it be construed to indicate that use of a particular drug is safe, appropriate or effective for you or anyone else. A healthcare professional should be consulted before taking any drug, changing any diet or commencing or discontinuing any course of treatment.

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