"Dec. 11, 2012 -- What do cancer patients and survivors need to know about the flu? WebMD asked Lisa Richardson, MD, associate director for science in the CDC's Division of Cancer Prevention and Control.
Should cancer patien"...
IMPORTANT: HOW TO USE THIS INFORMATION: This is a summary and does NOT have all possible information about this product. This information does not assure that this product is safe, effective, or appropriate for you. This information is not individual medical advice and does not substitute for the advice of your health care professional. Always ask your health care professional for complete information about this product and your specific health needs.
ZANAMIVIR INHALER - ORAL
COMMON BRAND NAME(S): Relenza
USES: Zanamivir is used to treat symptoms caused by the flu virus (influenza) if you have had symptoms for 2 days or less. It helps lessen symptoms (such as stuffy nose, cough, sore throat, fever/chills, headache, body aches, tiredness) and shortens the recovery time by about 1 to 2 days.
Zanamivir is also used to prevent the flu if you have been exposed to someone who already has the flu (such as a sick household member) or if there is a flu outbreak in the community.
This medication works by stopping the flu virus from growing. It is not a substitute for the flu vaccine.
If you have the flu, zanamivir does not reduce the risk of giving the flu to others.
HOW TO USE: Read the Patient Information Leaflet provided by your pharmacist before you start using zanamivir and each time you get a refill. Learn all usage instructions. If you have any questions, ask your doctor or pharmacist.
For flu treatment: inhale this medication through your mouth as directed by your doctor, usually 2 inhalations (1 blister per inhalation) twice a day (about 12 hours apart) for 5 days. If possible, on the first day of treatment, take two doses (2 inhalations each), waiting at least 2 hours between doses.
For flu prevention: inhale this medication through your mouth as directed by your doctor, usually 2 inhalations (1 blister per inhalation) once a day. The usual length of time you will take zanamivir is 10 days if there is a sick household member or 28 days if there is a flu outbreak in the community, or as directed by your doctor.
Remove the cover on the disk inhaler. Before use, check the mouthpiece to be sure it is clean and free of particles. Load the medication disk into the disk inhaler. Puncture one medication blister. Keep the disk inhaler level so that the medication will not spill out. Breathe out all the way through your mouth, put the mouthpiece into your mouth, and breathe in through your mouth as deeply as you can. This will draw the medication into your lungs. Hold your breath for a few seconds. To take another inhalation, advance to the next medication blister and repeat the process. Replace the cover of the disk inhaler.
Do not mix this powder medication with any liquids, including nebulizer liquids.
If a child is using this medication, a parent or other responsible adult should supervise the child to make sure it is used properly.
Start zanamivir as soon as possible. This medication works best when the amount of medicine in your body is kept at a constant level. Therefore, use this drug at evenly spaced intervals at the same time(s) every day.
Continue to use this medication for the full time prescribed, even if symptoms improve. Stopping the medication too early may result in a return of the infection, or failure to protect you from the flu.
If you have breathing problems (such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease-COPD) and are scheduled to use inhaled bronchodilators (such as albuterol) at the same time as zanamivir, use the bronchodilator medication before using zanamivir. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more details.
Tell your doctor if your condition persists or worsens or if new symptoms appear.
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