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Generic Name: Zanamivir (zah-NAM-ih-veer)
Brand Name: Relenza

Zanamivir is used for:

Treating uncomplicated influenza in patients 7 years of age and older who have had symptoms for no more than 2 days. It may also be used to prevent influenza in patients 5 years of age and older.

Zanamivir is an antiviral agent. It works by interfering with viral enzymes that allow respiratory viruses to grow and spread.

Do NOT use Zanamivir if:

  • you are allergic to any ingredient in Zanamivir

Contact your doctor or health care provider right away if any of these apply to you.

Before using Zanamivir :

Some medical conditions may interact with Zanamivir . Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have any medical conditions, especially if any of the following apply to you:

  • if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding
  • if you are taking any prescription or nonprescription medicine, herbal preparation, or dietary supplement
  • if you have allergies to medicines, foods, or other substances
  • if you have heart problems or a lung disease, including asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), or emphysema; or if you have a lung infection

Some MEDICINES MAY INTERACT with Zanamivir . However, no specific interactions with Zanamivir are known at this time.

This may not be a complete list of all interactions that may occur. Ask your health care provider if Zanamivir may interact with other medicines that you take. Check with your health care provider before you start, stop, or change the dose of any medicine.

How to use Zanamivir :

Use Zanamivir as directed by your doctor. Check the label on the medicine for exact dosing instructions.

  • An additional patient information leaflet is available with Zanamivir . Read it carefully.
  • Follow instructions given to you by your doctor, pharmacist, or health care provider for using the medicine delivery device.
  • Do not puncture the medicine blister until you are ready to take a dose.
  • Continue Zanamivir for the full course of treatment even if you feel better in a few days. Do not miss any doses.
  • If you have asthma or COPD and have a dose of the bronchodilator inhaler scheduled at the same time as Zanamivir , use the bronchodilator before using Zanamivir . Be sure to always carry a fast-acting bronchodilator inhaler with you to use in case of bronchospasm while using Zanamivir .
  • If you miss a dose of Zanamivir , use it as soon as possible. If it is almost time for your next dose (within 2 hours), skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not use 2 doses at once. If more than 1 dose is missed, contact your doctor or pharmacist.

Ask your health care provider any questions you may have about how to use Zanamivir .

Important safety information:

  • Zanamivir may cause dizziness. Do not drive, operate machinery, or do anything else that could be dangerous until you know how you react to Zanamivir . Using Zanamivir alone, with certain other medicines, or with alcohol may lessen your ability to drive or perform other potentially dangerous tasks.
  • Zanamivir will not prevent you from spreading influenza to others.
  • Zanamivir should not be used in place of the influenza vaccine recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  • Talk with your doctor if you will be receiving, or have recently received, the nasal influenza (flu) vaccine. Zanamivir may interfere with it. Do not use the vaccine for 24 hours after you stop Zanamivir . Do not take Zanamivir for 2 weeks after you have received the vaccine, unless your doctor tells you to.
  • Contact your doctor at once if you have lung or breathing problems (eg, asthma, COPD) and your symptoms become worse, or if you have problems breathing, such as wheezing or shortness of breath, or other signs of bronchospasm.
  • Use Zanamivir with extreme caution in CHILDREN younger than 5 years of age. Safety and effectiveness in this age group have not been confirmed.
  • PREGNANCY AND BREAST-FEEDING: If you become pregnant, discuss with your doctor the benefits and risks of using Zanamivir during pregnancy. It is unknown if Zanamivir is excreted in breast milk. If you are or will be breast-feeding while you are using Zanamivir , check with your doctor or pharmacist to discuss the risks to your baby.

Possible side effects of Zanamivir :

All medicines may cause side effects, but many people have no, or minor, side effects. Check with your doctor if any of these most COMMON side effects persist or become bothersome:

Cough; diarrhea; dizziness; headache; nausea; sinus inflammation; stuffy nose; vomiting.

Seek medical attention right away if any of these SEVERE side effects occur:

Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue); shortness of breath; wheezing.

This is not a complete list of all side effects that may occur. If you have questions or need medical advice about side effects, contact your doctor or health care provider. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 (1-800-332-1088) or at

If OVERDOSE is suspected:

Contact 1-800-222-1222 (the American Association of Poison Control Centers), your local poison control center (, or emergency room immediately.

Proper storage of Zanamivir :

Store Zanamivir at 77 degrees F (25 degrees C). Brief storage at temperatures between 59 and 86 degrees F (15 and 30 degrees C) is permitted. Store away from heat, moisture, and light. Do not store in the bathroom. Do not puncture the blister until you are ready to take a dose using the Diskhaler. Keep Zanamivir out of the reach of children and away from pets.

General information:

  • If you have any questions about Zanamivir , please talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
  • Zanamivir is to be used only by the patient for whom it is prescribed. Do not share it with other people.
  • If your symptoms do not improve or if they become worse, check with your doctor.

This information is a summary only. It does not contain all information about Zanamivir . If you have questions about the medicine you are taking or would like more information, check with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.

Issue Date: November 1, 2006
Database Edition
Copyright © 2006 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc.

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