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What are antiviral drugs for the flu?

Answer by:
WebMD Expert


Antiviral drugs are prescription drugs that may help prevent flu complications or make the flu shorter and less severe.

The CDC recommends the antiviral drugs Relenza and Tamiflu. Tamiflu, which is taken by mouth, is approved for treating the flu in people 2 weeks old and older and for preventing flu in people 1 year old and older. Relenza is approved for treating flu in people 7 years old and older and for preventing flu in people 5 years old and older. Relenza is inhaled through the mouth.

Relenza and Tamiflu are most effective when given within 48 hours of the start of flu symptoms. After that, they may still prevent severe flu complications.

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