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Influenza treatment


This article is about flu treatment in humans for mild human flu, which includes both efforts to reduce symptoms and treatments for the flu virus itself.

The CDC recommends that patients with flu get plenty of rest, drink a lot of liquids, and avoid using alcohol and tobacco. [1]


Antiviral Drugs

These treatments are antiviral drugs that affect the virus itself and may be used as either a prophylactic (that is, before infection) or as treatment. In general, antiviral drugs for treatment of influenza must be taken within a few days of the onset of symptoms.

Due to increasing incidence of drug resistance to amantadine and rimantadine in H3N2 during the 2005-2006 flu season in the United States, the CDC recommended the use of oseltamivir for flu prevention and the use of oseltamivir or zanamivir for flu treatment.[2] [3]


These prescription drugs have been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration as safe and effective.

Antiviral drugs to treat influenza
Class Effective Against Brand Name Drug Name (INN) Year Approved Manufacturer
M2 inhibitors
(adamantane derivatives)
Influenza A Symmetrel® Amantadine 1976 Endo Pharmaceuticals
Flumadine® Rimantadine 1994 Forest Laboratories
Neuraminidase inhibitors Influenza A & B Relenza® Zanamivir 1999 GlaxoSmithKline
Tamiflu® Oseltamivir 1999 Hoffmann-La Roche
Note: Neuraminidase inhibitors are approved for prophylaxis use in children and adults.


Peramivir is being developed by BioCryst Pharmaceuticals, but has not yet been approved for sale in the United States.[4]

Conventional symptomatic relief

Over the counter medicines may be taken to relieve influenza symptoms, but they do not affect the virus.

OTC medicines provide relief for 'flu symptoms[5]
Symptom(s) OTC Medicine
fever, aches, pains, sinus pressure, sore throat analgesics
nasal congestion, sinus pressure decongestants
sinus pressure, runny nose, watery eyes, cough antihistamines
cough cough suppressant
sore throat local anesthetics

Children and teenagers with flu symptoms (particularly fever) should avoid taking aspirin as taking aspirin in the presence of influenza infection (especially Influenzavirus B) can lead to Reye's syndrome, a rare but potentially fatal disease of the liver.[6]

Unconventional treatment

Homeopathic and other cold and flu remedies that fail to meet the regulatory requirements as drugs that treat disease, or the standards of evidence-based medicine, are sold as nutritional supplements.

They may be based on extracts of living things, but may lack documentation of their safety and effectiveness.[citations needed]


  1. ^ Influenza Symptoms, Protection, and What to Do If You Get Sick. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2006-01-14). Retrieved on 2007-05-25.
  2. ^ Smith, Nicole M.; Joseph S. Bresee, David K. Shay, Timothy M. Uyeki, Nancy J. Cox, Raymond A. Strikas (2006-07-28). Prevention and Control of Influenza. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved on 2007-05-25.
  3. ^ Altman, Lawrence K.. "This Season's Flu Virus Is Resistant to 2 Standard Drugs", New York Times, 2006-01-15. Retrieved on 2007-05-25. 
  4. ^ Peramivir Fact Sheet (pdf). BioCryst Pharmaceuticals Inc. Retrieved on 2007-05-25.
  5. ^ Cold and Flu Guidelines: Influenza. American Lung Association. Retrieved on 2007-09-16.
  6. ^ Molotsky, Irvin. "Consumer Saturday - Warning on Flu and Aspirin", New York Times, 1986-02-15. Retrieved on 2007-05-25. 
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Influenza_treatment". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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