Zanamivir belongs to the family of medications called antivirals. It is used to treat flu infections caused by two influenza viruses (influenza A and influenza B). It is also used to prevent or reduce the chance of getting the flu in household and community settings (but not in nursing homes) following close contact with an infected person.
Zanamivir works by inhibiting an enzyme the flu virus needs to spread through your body. If it is used within 2 days of the start of flu symptoms, zanamivir can reduce the time it takes for flu symptoms to improve by about one day.
This medication does not replace the flu shot. You should get an annual flu shot according to immunization recommendations from your doctor.
Your doctor may have suggested this medication for conditions other than those listed in these drug information articles. If you have not discussed this with your doctor or are not sure why you are taking this medication, speak to your doctor. Do not stop taking this medication without consulting your doctor.
Do not give this medication to anyone else, even if they have the same symptoms as you do. It can be harmful for people to take this medication if their doctor has not prescribed it.
Each Relenza Rotadisk consists of a circular foil disk with 4 regularly distributed blisters each containing 5 mg of zanamivir. A diskhaler inhalation device is provided to administer the medication. Nonmedicinal ingredient: lactose.
The recommended dose of zanamivir to treat influenza in adults and children 7 years and older is 20 mg, taken as 2 puffs in the morning and 2 puffs in the evening for 5 days. You should start the medication within 2 days of when you start to feel flu symptoms. The 2 doses should be as close to 12 hours apart as possible and the first 2 doses should be taken on the first day of treatment as long as there is at least 2 hours between the doses.
The recommended dose of zanamivir to prevent influenza in adults and children 7 years and older is 10 mg, taken as 2 puffs once a day at the same time each day for 10 to 28 days. The length of treatment will depend on the person and will be determined by your doctor.
Zanamivir is used with a special inhaler. Read the directions in the package carefully before using it. Ask your pharmacist if you have any questions about how to use the inhaler.
To load the inhaler with the medication:
To use the inhaler:
Many things can affect the dose of a medication that a person needs, such as body weight, other medical conditions, and other medications. If your doctor has recommended a dose different from the ones listed here, do not change the way that you are taking the medication without consulting your doctor.
It is important to use this medication exactly as prescribed by your doctor. If you miss a dose, administer it as soon as possible and continue with your regular schedule. If it is almost time for your next dose (within 2 hours), skip the missed dose and continue with your regular dosing schedule. Do not administer a double dose to make up for a missed one. If you are not sure what to do after missing a dose, contact your doctor or pharmacist for advice.
Store this medication at room temperature in a dry place and keep it out of the reach of children.
Do not dispose of medications in wastewater (e.g. down the sink or in the toilet) or in household garbage. Ask your pharmacist how to dispose of medications that are no longer needed or have expired.
Do not use this medication if you are allergic to zanamivir or any ingredients of the medication.
Many medications can cause side effects. A side effect is an unwanted response to a medication when it is taken in normal doses. Side effects can be mild or severe, temporary or permanent.
The side effects listed below are not experienced by everyone who takes this medication. If you are concerned about side effects, discuss the risks and benefits of this medication with your doctor.
The following side effects have been reported by at least 1% of people taking this medication. Many of these side effects can be managed, and some may go away on their own over time.
Contact your doctor if you experience these side effects and they are severe or bothersome. Your pharmacist may be able to advise you on managing side effects.
Although most of the side effects listed below don’t happen very often, they could lead to serious problems if you do not seek medical attention.
Check with your doctor as soon as possible if any of the following side effects occur:
Stop taking the medication and seek immediate medical attention if any of the following occur:
Some people may experience side effects other than those listed. Check with your doctor if you notice any symptom that worries you while you are taking this medication.
Before you begin using a medication, be sure to inform your doctor of any medical conditions or allergies you may have, any medications you are taking, whether you are pregnant or breast-feeding, and any other significant facts about your health. These factors may affect how you should use this medication.
Asthma or breathing disorders: This medication can cause serious breathing problems (wheezing, difficulty breathing). If you do take this medication and you have asthma or COPD, make sure you have your fast-acting bronchodilator available. If your dosing schedule requires both your bronchodilator and zanamivir to be used at the same time, use your bronchodilator first.
If you develop worsening breathing problems such as difficulty breathing, shortness of breath, or wheezing, stop using zanamivir and contact your doctor as soon as possible. Zanamivir is generally not recommended for people with a history of breathing disorders (e.g., asthma, COPD).
Effectiveness: The benefit of zanamivir has not been seen for the treatment of flu symptoms that have been present for more than 2 days.
Flu shots: Zanamivir is not a substitute for the flu shot. Continue to receive an annual flu shot as advised by your doctor.
Mental health: There have been reports of people who experienced delirium and abnormal behaviour while taking zanamivir. The exact link between zanamivir and these behaviours have not been established. If you experience any changes in behaviour, contact your doctor as soon as possible.
Pregnancy: This medication should not be used during pregnancy unless the benefits outweigh the risks. If you become pregnant while taking this medication, contact your doctor immediately.
Breast-feeding: It is now known if zanamivir passes into breast milk. If you are a breast-feeding mother and are taking this medication, it may affect your baby. Talk to your doctor about whether you should continue breast-feeding.
Children: The safety and effectiveness of using this medication have not been established for children under 7 years of age.
Tell your doctor or prescriber about all prescription, over-the-counter (non-prescription), and herbal medications that you are taking. Also tell them about any supplements you take. Since caffeine, alcohol, the nicotine from cigarettes, or street drugs can affect the action of many medications, you should let your prescriber know if you use them. Depending on your specific circumstances, your doctor may want you to:
An interaction between two medications does not always mean that you must stop taking one of them. Speak to your doctor about how any drug interactions are being managed or should be managed.
All material copyright MediResource Inc. 1996 – 2020. Terms and conditions of use. The contents herein are for informational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Source: www.medbroadcast.com/drug/getdrug/Relenza