Zanamivir (By breathing)


Zanamivir (zan-AM-i-vir)
Treats and helps prevent the flu (influenza type A and B, and swine influenza A).

Brand Name(s)

There may be other brand names for this medicine.


When This Medicine Should Not Be Used

You should not use this medicine if you have had an allergic reaction to zanamivir.

How to Use This Medicine

  • Your doctor will tell you how much of this medicine to use and how often. Do not use more medicine or use it more often than your doctor tells you to.
  • This medicine comes with patient instructions. Read and follow these instructions carefully. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions.
  • Relenza® is a powder that is used with its own special inhaler device called a Diskhaler®. Individually measured doses of the powder are held in a foil blister pack called a Rotadisk®. Each Rotadisk® is placed into the Diskhaler®. The Diskhaler® pierces each blister one at a time to load the correct dose into the chamber when you are ready to use the medicine. An adult needs to closely watch while a child is using the Diskhaler®.
  • Keep using this medicine for the full treatment time, even if you feel better after the first few doses. Your infection may not clear up if you stop using the medicine too soon.
  • If you are also using an asthma medicine that you inhale (such as albuterol, Atrovent®, Combivent®, or Serevent®), use it before you use zanamivir.
If a dose is missed:
  • If you miss a dose or forget to use your medicine, use it as soon as you can. If it is almost time for your next dose, wait until then to use the medicine and skip the missed dose. Do not use extra medicine to make up for a missed dose.

How to Store and Dispose of This Medicine

  • Keep the medicine in the foil pouch until you are ready to use it. Store at room temperature, away from heat and direct light. Do not freeze.Do not break the foil on the Rotadisk®.
  • Ask your pharmacist, doctor, or health caregiver about the best way to dispose of the used medicine container and any leftover medicine. You will also need to throw away old medicine after the expiration date has passed.
  • Keep all medicine away from children and never share your medicine with anyone.

Drugs and Foods to Avoid

Ask your doctor or pharmacist before using any other medicine, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.
  • Make sure your doctor knows if you were given the intranasal flu vaccine called FluMist®. These two medicines can not be used at the same time. You should also tell your doctor if you plan to get the intranasal flu vaccine. Your doctor will tell you when to take this medicine if you have taken or plan to take FluMist®.

Warnings While Using This Medicine

  • Make sure your doctor knows if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, or if you have lung disease (especially asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)).
  • Do not give this medicine to a child under 7 years of age, unless the child's doctor has ordered it.
  • Do not use this medicine with a nebulizer. It should only be used with the Diskhaler® device that is included in the drug package.
  • You should not use this medicine to treat other types of flu.
  • This medicine does not take the place of a yearly flu vaccine.
  • Although you may feel better while using this medicine, other people may still be able to catch the flu from you.
  • Make sure any doctor or dentist who treats you knows that you are using this medicine. This medicine may affect the results of certain medical tests.

Possible Side Effects While Using This Medicine

Call your doctor right away if you notice any of these side effects:
  • Allergic reaction: Itching or hives, swelling in your face or hands, swelling or tingling in your mouth or throat, chest tightness, trouble breathing.
  • Fever, chills, cough, sore throat, and body aches.
  • Increased wheezing or shortness of breath.
  • Irregular heartbeat.
  • Lightheadedness, dizziness, or fainting.
  • Seizures.
If you notice these less serious side effects, talk with your doctor:
  • Change in appetite.
  • Diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, or stomach pain.
  • Headache.
  • Muscle or joint pain.
  • Skin rash.
  • Sneezing or runny nose.
  • Tiredness or weakness.

If you notice other side effects that you think are caused by this medicine, tell your doctor

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088
Review Date: 2011-02-04 Reviewed By: Keywords: ,
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