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Zanamivir (Inhalation Systemic)
Zanamivir (zan-AM-e-veer) is used in the treatment of the infection caused by the flu virus (influenza A and influenza B). Zanamivir may reduce flu symptoms (weakness, headache, fever, cough, and sore throat) by 1 to 1.5 days. Zanamivir does not prevent influenza infection.
This medicine must be started within 2 days of having flu symptoms (weakness, headache, fever, cough, and sore throat). Zanamivir will not keep you from spreading the flu virus to other people. Zanamivir may not work for everybody. Zanamivir may not be for you if you are severely sick or have a breathing problem (like asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease). If you receive the flu vaccine every year, continue to do so.
Allergies Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to zanamivir.
Pregnancy Zanamivir has not been studied in pregnant women. However, zanamivir has not been shown to cause birth defects or other problems in animal studies.
Breast-feeding It is not known whether zanamivir passes into breast milk. Although most medicines pass into breast milk in small amounts, many of them may be used safely while breast-feeding. Mothers who are using this medicine and who wish to breast-feed should discuss this with their doctor.
Children This medicine is not recommended for use in children younger than 7 years of age. This medicine has been tested in children 12 years and older and has not been shown to cause different side effects or problems in these children than it does in adults.This medicine is available in Canada. It is not recommended in children younger than 12 years of age.
Older adults This medicine has been tested in older adults and has not been shown to cause different side effects or problems in older adults than it does in younger adults.
Other medicines Although certain medicines should not be used together at all, in other cases two different medicines may be used together even if an interaction might occur. In these cases, your doctor may want to change the dose, or other precautions may be necessary. Tell your health care professional if you are taking any other prescription or non-prescription (over the counter [OTC]) medicine before using zanamivir.
Other medical problems The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of zanamivir. Make sure to tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:
Proper Use of This Medicine Return to top
Talk to your doctor about the possibility of getting a flu shot if you have not had one yet. This medicine works best if taken as soon as possible after exposure to people who have the flu. If you already have the flu, continue taking this medicine for the full time of treatment even if you begin to feel better after a few days. This will help to clear up your infection completely. If you stop taking this medicine too soon, your symptoms may return. This medicine should be taken for 5 days.
Inhaled zanamivir is used with a special inhaler and usually comes with patient directions. Read the directions carefully before using this medicine. If you do not understand the directions or you are not sure how to use the inhaler, ask your health care professional to show you what to do.
To load the inhaler:
To use the inhaler:
Follow your doctor's orders or the directions on the label.
This medicine works best when there is a constant amount in the lungs. To help keep the amount constant, do not miss any doses. If you miss a dose of this medicine, use it as soon as possible. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not double doses. It is best to take the doses at evenly spaced times day and night.
To store this medicine:
Precautions While Using This Medicine Return to top
Zanamivir will not keep you from spreading the flu virus to other people. This medicine may cause people with lung disease (chronic obstructive lung disease or asthma) to experience trouble breathing. If this should happen contact your doctor immediately. Zanamivir may not work in patients with lung disease, heart disease, or serious medical conditions.
Bronchospasm (wheezing) is a risk for patients with asthma or chronic respiratory disease. Always have a fast-acting inhaled bronchodilator available for your use.
Side Effects of This Medicine
Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.
Stop using this medicine and get emergency help immediately if the following side effects occur:
Other side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. However, check with your doctor if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome:
Other side effects not listed above may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your doctor.
Once a medicine has been approved for marketing for a certain use, experience may show that it is also useful for other medical problems. Although this use is not included in product labelling, zanamivir is used in certain patients:
Other than the above information, there is no additional information relating to proper use, precautions, or side effects for this use.
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