Zanamivir is a medicine used to treat and prevent infections caused by certain types of flu virus.
This medicine shortens the time that you suffer from flu symptoms such as fever, stuffy nose, cough, sore throat and muscle aches. It can also prevent you from getting flu when there is an outbreak or if you have come into close contact with someone who has flu symptoms.
Use Zanamivir exactly as directed by your doctor or according to the instructions on the label. Do not use more or less than instructed by your doctor.
This medicine is available as a diskhaler.
Make sure you know how to use the device which you have been given. If you have problems or do not understand the instructions, ask your doctor or pharmacist to show you how to use it.
Instructions for use:
- Remove the mouthpiece cover.
- Check to ensure that the mouthpiece is clean and that there are no foreign objects in the mouthpiece before every use.
- Hold the edges of the mouthpiece and pull out the tray gently until you see the ridges on the side of the tray.
- Squeeze both sides of the ridges at the same time with your finger and thumb to release the tray. Gently pull the tray out of the body of the device.
- Pick up and new medicine disk and make sure that the foil is not broken. Place the disk on the wheel with the blisters facing down and the flat side facing up. The blisters will fit neatly into the holes of the wheel.
- Slide the tray back into the body of the device as far as it will go. The device is now loaded with medicine.
- From here on, hold the device horizontally and keep it level to prevent medicine from spilling out in the later steps.
- Flip up the back of the lid as far as it will go to pierce the blister. This will require some pressure and you may feel some resistance as you lift the lid. The lid must be fully upright to ensure that the blister has been completely pierced.
- Close the lid.
- Holding the device away from your mouth, breathe out as far as you comfortably can. Do not blow into the device or the powder may be blown out.
- Place the mouthpiece between your teeth and close your lips firmly around it, but do not bite it. Make sure you do not cover the air holes on either side of the mouthpiece.
- Breathe in steadily through your mouth as deeply as you can.
- Hold your breath and remove the device from your mouth. Continue holding your breath for a few seconds or as long as you comfortably can.
- Breathe out slowly and resume normal breathing.
- To take another dose, gently pull out the tray (without removing it) and push it back in. This will rotate the medicine disc to the next blister. When you are ready to take the next dose, repeat steps 7 to 14.
- Wipe the mouthpiece with a clean tissue and replace the mouthpiece cover after use.
If you are using any other inhaled medicines (e.g. certain medications for asthma and other similar conditions), use them before using Zanamivir.
This medicine must be used regularly for it to be effective. Continue to take it even when you feel better. Do not stop taking it unless instructed by the doctor.
Do not skip any doses. You must complete the entire course. If you don't, the infection will not clear completely.
If the doctor has prescribed Zanamivir for your child, do ensure that they only use the medicine under the supervision of an adult who knows how to use the device.
Use the missed dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and return to your normal dosing schedule.
DO NOT double a dose under any circumstances.
If you often forget to take your medicine, let your doctor and pharmacist know.
Alert your doctor if you ever had an allergic reaction (breathlessness, rashes, swollen eyes) to other antiviral medications as this medicine may not be suitable for you.
Do not give Zanamivir to children below 5 years old unless instructed to do so by the doctor.
Inform your doctor if you have the following conditions:
- kidney disease
- liver disease
- heart disease
- lung disease e.g. asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
Let your doctor know if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Zanamivir is not a substitute for your annual flu immunisation or vaccine.
Zanamivir does not prevent you from spreading your flu to others. Try to limit contact with others while you are sick, cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze and wash your hands frequently with soap and water to avoid spreading the flu to others.
Zanamivir may cause any of the following side effects: headache, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea and cough.
Some side effects may need immediate medical help. Alert your doctor quickly if you experience any of the following:
- wheezing or difficulty in breathing
- unusual changes in mood or behaviour (e.g. being too depressed)
- hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that are non-existent)
- serious rash, swelling of the mouth and throat
Inform your doctor if any of these side effects do not go away or are severe, or if you experience other side effects.
Zanamivir should not be started if you have received a flu vaccine that is sprayed into the nostrils within the past 2 weeks. You should also wait for at least 48 hours after the last dose of this medicine before receiving this type of vaccine.
Always notify your doctor and pharmacist if you are taking any other medicines, including herbal tonics such as traditional Chinese medicines, supplements and medicines that you buy without a prescription.
Store in a cool, dry place away from the reach of children.
Medicines must not be used past the expiry date.