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Other drug names: A-Am An-Az B C-Ch Ci-Cz D-Dh Di-Dz E F G H I-J K-L M-Mh Mi-Mz N-Nh Ni-Nz O P-Pl Pm-Pz Q-R S-Sn So-Sz T-To Tp-Tz U-V W-Z 0-9   

Zanamivir Inhalation

Why is this medication prescribed?

Zanamivir is used to treat some types of influenza (flu) in patients 12 years and older who have had symptoms of the flu for 2 days or less. Zanamivir is in a class of drugs called neuraminidase inhibitors. These drugs work by stopping the growth and spread of the flu virus in your body. Zanamivir helps shorten the time you have flu symptoms such as nasal congestion, sore throat, cough, muscle aches, tiredness, headache, fever, and chills.

How should this medicine be used?

Zanamivir comes as a powder to inhale by mouth. It is usually inhaled twice daily for 5 days. You should take the doses about 12 hours apart and at the same time each day. On the first day of treatment your doctor may tell you to take the doses closer together.Zanamivir comes with a plastic inhaler called a Diskhaler and five circular blister packs called Rotadisks. Each Rotadisk contains four doses of the medication. Your prescription will come with instructions on how to use the Diskhaler. You should read these instructions carefully before using zanamivir. Ask your doctor or pharmacist to show you how to use the Diskhaler.

To put a Rotadisk in the Diskhaler, follow these steps:

  • Remove the blue cap that covers the mouthpiece. Look inside to make sure there is no dirt or other objects inside the Diskhaler.
  • Place your fingers on both sides of the white mouthpiece and pull on it. It should extend out from the body of the Diskhaler.
  • After you pull the mouthpiece out, you should be able to feel ridges with bumps on both sides of it. Press both of these ridges in while pulling out on the mouthpiece. This will allow you to remove the entire mouthpiece from the body of the Diskhaler.
  • Place one of the Rotadisks onto the brown wheel at the center of the Diskhaler. It should be placed with the flat side facing toward you. The circular pockets that hold the drug will fit into the holes of the brown wheel.
  • Replace the white mouthpiece and push it in as far as it will go. Do not push too hard. Your Diskhaler is now ready to use.

To use the Diskhaler, follow the steps described below, making sure that you are holding the Diskhaler level at all times.

  • Find the flap with the word Relenza on it. This flap is connected to a device that will puncture the medication blister pocket.
  • Hold the narrower edge of the flap and lift it up until it cannot be lifted any further. The flap must be straight up to work properly.
  • Make sure that you hold the Diskhaler level, then snap the flap back into place. This will open the medication blister pocket.
  • Breath out completely and then place the mouthpiece into your mouth. Remember to hold the Diskhaler level.
  • Close your lips around the Diskhaler. Make sure your lips do not cover the holes on the sides of the mouthpiece.
  • Breathe in through your mouth. Your breath should be deep and even.
  • Hold your breath for a few seconds so that the medicine stays in your lungs.
  • If your doctor has prescribed a second inhalation, you will need to rotate the Rotadisk to the next blister pocket. To rotate the Rotadisk, pull out the mouthpiece, but do not remove it completely.
  • Push the mouthpiece back until it clicks. You are now ready to take the next inhalation.
  • Repeat steps 1 through 7.
  • Once you have taken the right number of inhalations, you should place the blue cap back on the Diskhaler until it is time for your next dose.

Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part that you do not understand. Take zanamivir exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.

Continue to take zanamivir even if you start to feel better. Do not stop taking zanamivir without talking to your doctor.

What special precautions should I follow?

Before taking zanamivir,

  • tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to zanamivir or any other drugs.
  • tell your doctor what prescription and nonprescription medications and vitamins or herbal products you are taking.
  • tell your doctor if you have or have ever had asthma, emphysema, or liver or kidney disease.
  • if you use an inhaled medication to treat asthma or emphysema and you are scheduled to take that medication at the same time as zanamivir, you should take your regular medication before taking zanamivir.
  • tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding. If you become pregnant while taking zanamivir, call your doctor immediately.
  • if you have asthma or emphysema, you should know that zanamivir may cause breathing problems. Make sure you have your rescue medication available in case you have difficulty breathing. If you have difficulty breathing, use your rescue medication immediately and then call your doctor. Do not take any more zanamivir without first talking to your doctor.

What should I do if I forget a dose?

If you forget to take a dose, take it as soon as you remember it. If it is 2 hours or less until the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one.

What side effects can this medication cause?

Although side effects from zanamivir are not common, they can occur. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:

  • sinus infection
  • dizziness
  • upset stomach
  • diarrhea

If you experience any of the following symptoms, call your doctor immediately:

  • difficulty breathing
  • wheezing

Keep this medicine in the container it came in and out of reach of children. Store it at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom). Throw away any medication that is outdated or no longer needed. Talk to your pharmacist about the proper disposal of your medication.

In case of emergency/overdose

In case of overdose, call your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. If the victim has collapsed or is not breathing, call local emergency services at 911.

What other information should I know?

Zanamivir will not stop you from giving the flu to others. You should maintain proper hygiene, wash your hands frequently, and avoid situations such as sharing cups and utensils that can spread the virus to others.

Zanamivir does not replace the flu vaccine. You should continue to receive a flu shot each year if your doctor recommends it.

The Diskhaler should only be used for zanamivir. Do not use the Diskhaler to take other medications that you inhale.

Do not let anyone else take your medication. Your prescription is probably not refillable. If you still have symptoms of the flu after you finish the zanamivir, call your doctor.

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Last updated: Tue, 06 Jan 2009 00:20:03 GMT