Colds and flu

Updated 11 July 2014

Go the oseltamivir route

Down with the flu? While there are many over-the-counter drugs you can try, there's really only one effective solution if you live in SA: oseltamivir, marketed as Tamiflu.

Down with the flu? While there are many over-the-counter drugs you can try, there's really only one effective solution if you live in South Africa: oseltamivir, marketed as Tamiflu.

This drug belongs to a class of medicines known as neuraminidase inhibitors, which work by preventing the proliferation of the flu virus in the body.

Oseltamivir can be used to treat the flu and can also prevent people from becoming ill after being exposed to a sick person.

Neuraminidase enables the virus to continue infecting host cells. When neuraminidase is inhibited, the virus is no longer able to enter host cells and dies. The virus is therefore no longer able to spread.

In studies on animals, oseltamivir was successful in treating H5N1 (bird flu).

The drug successfully treats and prevents flu (A and B strains) in humans older than one year.

The 75g Tamiflu capsule needs to be taken twice a day for five days and has to be administered within 48 hours after the appearance of symptoms in order to be effective.

After a person has been exposed to someone with the flu, one capsule should be taken daily for ten days.

Research is currently being done on intravenous administration of the drug. – (Health24, Elsabé Brits, Die Burger)

 

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Ask the Expert

Flu expert

Dr Heidi van Deventer completed her MBChB (Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery) degree in 2004 at the University of Stellenbosch.
She has additional training in ACLS (Advanced Cardiac Life Support) and PALS (Paediatric Advanced Life Support) as well as biostatistics and epidemiology.

Dr Van Deventer is currently working as a researcher at the Desmond Tutu Tuberculosis Centre at the University of Stellenbosch.

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