Flu is usually treated with rest and fluids to let the body fight the infection on its own, and over-the-counter anti-inflammatory pain relievers may help with symptoms.
However, antiviral drugs are used to treat hospitalized patients, people with severe flu illness, and people who are at high risk of serious flu complications based on age or health—as well as patients who don't fit these categories, based on their doctor's decision.
Remember to tell your patients that antivirals is not a substitute for flu vaccination!
The following are commonly licensed prescription influenza antiviral agents available in the U.S.:
Tamiflu, Relenza, and Rapivab are chemically related antiviral medications known as neuraminidase inhibitors that have activity against both influenza A and B viruses. Amantadine and rimantadine are antiviral drugs in a class of medications known as adamantanes, which are active against influenza A viruses, but not influenza B viruses.
The CDC reports high levels of resistance (>99%) to adamantanes among influenza A (H3N2) and influenza A (H1N1) pdm09 ("2009 H1N1") viruses. Therefore, amantadine and rimantadine are not recommended for antiviral treatment or chemoprophylaxis of currently circulating influenza A viruses¹.
These flu treatments are most effective when they are started within 48 hours of getting sick, but starting them later can still be helpful, especially if the sick person is at high risk of serious flu complications or is very sick from the flu.
Browse a selection of products, including antivirals, that Henry Schein offers for treatment of the influenza virus.
To learn more about Tamiflu® click here
Return to the Flu Resource Center to learn more about ways to prevent, diagnose, and treat illness caused by influenza viruses.