Tamiflu is often the first line of treatment for influenza. But is it safe to take Tamiflu during pregnancy? Are there any side-effects you should know of? MomJunction gives you answers to these questions and more in this article.
What Is Tamiflu?
Tamiflu is the brand name for oseltamivir, a drug used for treatment and prophylaxis of flu caused by the influenza virus (1).
Tamiflu belongs to a class of drugs called neuraminidase inhibitors, which block the enzyme that the virus spreads. It is available in two major forms, capsule and liquid (oral suspension) that can be taken one to two times a day.
Can You Take Tamiflu (Oseltamivir) When Pregnant?
You can take Tamiflu only when its potential benefits outweigh the possible risks to the mother or the unborn. The US Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) labels the drug under category C, which means animal studies have shown adverse effects on the unborn baby, and there are no well-controlled studies on humans.
There is not much information on the use of Tamiflu during pregnancy, and the available information says there is no significant risk to fetal development (2).
What Could Be The Side Effects Of Tamiflu During Pregnancy?
The potential side effects of taking Tamiflu include diarrhea, stomach pain, nausea and vomiting (3). These symptoms can be bothersome but will subside in a few days. Take the medicine after you eat something, as it can upset the digestive system when taken on an empty stomach.
Serious side effects include allergic reactions with the following symptoms:
- Hives or rash
- Skin peeling and blisters
- Sores and blisters in the mouth
- Breathing difficulty
- Swelling in the face, lips, eye, tongue, and throat
- Tightness and pain in the chest
- Difficulty talking
If you experience any of these symptoms and they are not subsiding within a few days, go to a doctor.
Tamiflu (oseltamivir) is unlikely to cause any adverse pregnancy or fetal outcomes. Also, there is limited research on this aspect (4).
How Much Tamiflu Is Safe To Take During Pregnancy?
The recommended oral dosage is one 75mg capsule two times a day, for five days or as suggested by the doctor (5).
General Precautions To Follow While Taking Tamiflu
Though it is safe to take the prescribed dosage of Tamiflu, remember the following points to stay safe (6).
- Tamiflu is not a substitute for the flu vaccination.
- It is not an antibiotic drug and thus cannot be used to treat bacterial infections.
- It should always be consumed along with food or after food.
- If you have already received the nasal flu vaccination, you should wait at least two weeks before taking this drug(7).
- Avoid the medication if you have lung, kidney, or heart-related disorders, or other severe health issues (8).
- You should let your doctor know if you have a history of any disease or illness.