Harvard Health Letter

What you should know about antiviral drugs

flu-sign, antiviral drugs, viruses, virus
Flu season still has a few months left, and it is not too late to get a flu shot if you have not done so already.
Image: Thinkstock

They may help reduce symptoms of the flu, but they're not for everyone.

If you get the flu this winter, you may be prescribed an antiviral medication, such as oseltamivir (Tamiflu) or zanamivir (Relenza). These drugs help reduce symptoms and may help you recover from the flu a day or two earlier. "Antivirals are safe, they're well tolerated, and the evidence suggests that they may result in a lower rate of complications and hospitalizations from influenza," says infectious disease expert Dr. Raphael Dolin, Maxwell Finland Professor of Medicine, Microbiology, and Molecular Genetics at Harvard Medical School.

To continue reading this article, you must login.
  • Research health conditions
  • Check your symptoms
  • Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
  • Find the best treatments and procedures for you
  • Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
Learn more about the many benefits and features of joining Harvard Health Online »