Zanamivir

Generic Name: zanamivir (zan-AM-i-vir)
Brand Name: Relenza

Zanamivir is used for:

Treating influenza, including H1N1 influenza (swine flu), in patients 7 years old and older who have had symptoms for no more than 2 days. It may also be used to prevent influenza in patients 5 years old and older.

Zanamivir is an antiviral agent. It works by blocking the growth and spread of respiratory viruses.

Do NOT use zanamivir if:

  • you are allergic to any ingredient in zanamivir, to lactose, or to milk protein
  • you are going to have an intranasal live attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV) within the next 2 days or you have had such a vaccine within the past 2 weeks

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, lung or breathing problems (eg, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease [COPD], emphysema), or if you have a lung infection
  • if you have a history of mental or mood problems

Some MEDICINES MAY INTERACT with zanamivir. Tell your health care provider if you are taking any other medicines, especially any of the following:

  • Intranasal live attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV ) because its effectiveness may be decreased by zanamivir

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 extra patient leaflet is available with zanamivir. Talk to your pharmacist if you have questions about this information.
  • 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 lung or breathing problems (eg, asthma, COPD) and you have a dose of a bronchodilator inhaler (eg, albuterol) 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. This effect may be worse if you take it with alcohol or certain medicines. Use zanamivir with caution. Do not drive or perform other possibly unsafe tasks until you know how you react to it.
  • 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 (CDC).
  • Zanamivir works only against the influenza virus; it does not treat bacterial or other viral infections.
  • Patients with the flu who take zanamivir may have an increased risk of confusion and unusual behavioral changes. The risk may be greater in children. Contact your doctor if you notice symptoms of confusion or any other unusual behavioral changes.
  • Tell your doctor or dentist that you take zanamivir before you receive any medical or dental care, emergency care, or surgery.
  • Tell your doctor that you take zanamivir before you receive any vaccines, including the intranasal live attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV).
  • 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.
  • If your symptoms do not get better within a few days or if they get worse, check with your doctor.
  • Lab tests, including lung function, may be performed while you use zanamivir. These tests may be used to monitor your condition or check for side effects. Be sure to keep all doctor and lab appointments.
  • Caution is advised when using zanamivir in CHILDREN; they may be more sensitive to its effects, especially seizures, confusion, and abnormal behavior.
  • Zanamivir should be used with extreme caution in CHILDREN younger than 5 years old; safety and effectiveness in these children have not been confirmed.
  • PREGNANCY AND BREAST-FEEDING: If you become pregnant, contact your doctor. You will need to discuss the benefits and risks of using zanamivir while you are pregnant. It is not known if zanamivir is found in breast milk. If you are or will be breast-feeding while you use zanamivir, check with your doctor. Discuss any possible 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; sore throat; stuffy nose; vomiting.

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

Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, throat, or tongue); abnormal behavior; confusion; hallucinations; irregular heartbeat; mood or mental changes; rash with fever, mouth sores, or red and irritated eyes; red, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin; seizures; shortness of breath; symptoms of infection (eg, fever, chills, persistent sore throat); trouble swallowing; wheezing.

This is not a complete list of all side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, contact your health care provider. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. To report side effects to the appropriate agency, please read the Guide to Reporting Problems to FDA.

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.
  • Check with your pharmacist about how to dispose of unused medicine.

This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take zanamivir or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about zanamivir. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to zanamivir. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using zanamivir.

Issue Date: December 3, 2014
Database Edition 14.4.1.003
Copyright © 2014 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc.

Disclaimer: This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take this medicine or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about this medicine. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to this medicine. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using this medicine.

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