With flu season in full swing, rumors are flying on social media about Tamiflu® and its
ability to help fight the flu. Some are hailing it as the only sensible response to the flu
while others are avoiding it because of the potential side effects. But what is fact and
what is fiction? Medco ER & Urgent Care has collected some common perceptions to
help you make an informed decision about oseltamivir, or the brand name Tamiflu.
Tamiflu is a cure for the flu: FALSE
Oseltamivir has been shown to reduce the duration of the flu by one day. If you are
already showing signs of the flu, it will not stop the progress of the virus but it may help
shorten the duration.
Tamiflu is a substitute for the flu vaccine: FALSE
The best prevention for getting the flu is still the flu vaccine. People at high risk –
elderly, infants, healthcare workers, childcare workers, people with compromised
immune systems – should still get the flu vaccine each year.
“While getting the flu vaccine doesn’t guarantee you won’t get a virus, it still provides
protection against popular strains of flu which is especially important in
immunocompromised people,” said Medco ER & Urgent Care physician Dr. Frank Lee.
“It can also help lessen the severity of the flu including the potential for secondary
Tamiflu can prevent me from getting the flu: TRUE
If you have been in close contact with someone who has the flu, you can talk to your
doctor about taking oseltamivir as a prevention. The sooner you can get to Medco ER &
Urgent Care to discuss taking Tamiflu, the better.
Tamiflu can help me get over the flu: TRUE
If started within the first two days of showing signs of having the flu – fever, runny nose,
cough, stuffy nose, headache, sore throat, weakness – oseltamivir can help reduce the
duration of the flu. It doesn’t actually cure the flu, but it can help shorten the duration
which can help prevent more serious secondary infections from developing.
Tamiflu’s side effects are as bad as having the flu: FALSE
While the common side effects may include nausea and vomiting, if taken with food,
oseltamivir produces few side effects in most patients. While a small percentage have
experienced further side effects such as headaches, fatigue, nosebleeds, hallucinations
and abdominal pain, most people experience little to no side effects. Your physician will
help you weigh the potential risks and benefits to determine if this drug is right for you.
Tamiflu will only work if taken in the first 48 hours: TRUE
“Because the window of opportunity is short, you should come in to Medco ER & Urgent
Care as soon as you first start to show symptoms of having the flu,” said Dr. Lee. “The
course has to be started within the first two days to have any effect on the duration of
Tamiflu is sold over-the-counter: FALSE
Available only in prescription form, patients need to see a doctor to be evaluated for the
proper use of oseltamivir. It has been used to prevent infection from viruses such as
influenza A, influenza B and swine influenza A.
Where can I find help for the flu?
If you need a preventative flu shot or need to be seen for symptoms of the flu, Medco
ER & Urgent Care is open 24/7 to help you. With almost no wait time, a board-certified
physician will be available to evaluate you and to develop a treatment plan that’s right
Try one of our two locations close to home:
Plano: 3960 Legacy Drive on the corner of Legacy and Coit Road.
Call us @ 469-392-4000.
Frisco: 5600 Eldorado Parkway across from McDonald’s and Costco.
Call us @ 469-392-4100.
Tamiflu® is a registered trademark of Roche