How effective is Tamiflu against the flu?

January 27, 2021

Tamiflu (oseltamivir) is effective at both preventing and treating influenza. In 2015 the medical journal Infectious Disease reported an analysis of 12 studies, including over 107,000 patients with influenza. Those treated with Tamiflu suffered fewer days with fever and had less likelihood of ear infections, other complications, and hospitalization than untreated patients. These patients had been tested for influenza, and their tests were positive. There is no benefit from Tamiflu taken for a presumptive case of flu because of sneezing and coughing, which might actually be a cold, caused by another type of virus. According to the National Center for Health Research (NCHR) in Connecticut, Tamiflu will shorten a case of documented influenza by one day. It will reduce the risk of incidence of pneumonia by 44% and the risk of hospitalization by 63%.  The NCHR goes on to say that taking Tamiflu after exposure to a confirmed case can lower the risk of catching the disease by as much as 55%. For prevention, Tamiflu should be taken within two days of exposure. For treatment, the drug should be started within two days of the start of the following signs and symptoms: runny nose, fever, weakness, headache, cough, sore throat. Tamiflu is available over the counter.


  • Treatment–take one 75 mg capsule twice a day for 5 days, or 12.5 ml of liquid suspension twice a day for 5 days.
  • Prevention–take one 75 mg capsule or 12.5 ml of liquid suspension twice a day for 10 days.

Did you know? QuickMD can order a test to learn whether you have Influenza A or B and advise you whether Tamiflu would be a good idea.


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