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Zanamivir inhalation

Important Note

The following information is intended to supplement, not substitute for, the expertise and judgment of your physician, pharmacist or other healthcare professional. It should not be construed to indicate that use of the drug is safe, appropriate, or effective for you. Consult your healthcare professional before using this drug.





This medication is used to treat illness (symptoms) caused by the flu virus (influenza).



Zanamivir may also be used to prevent the flu (e.g., in household members exposed to a flu sufferer).

How To Use

Inhale the medication through the mouth, generally 2 inhalations twice daily (approximately 12 hours apart) for 5 days, or as directed by your doctor. When possible, take two doses (each dose is 2 inhalations) on the first day of treatment, waiting at least two hours between doses. Learn all usage instructions in the product package and ask your doctor or pharmacist for advice if you are unclear about any of the information. Check the mouthpiece to be sure it is free of foreign objects before use. Load the medication disk into the diskhaler. Puncture one medication blister. Keep diskhaler level so that medication will not spill. Breathe out through the mouth, put the mouthpiece into your mouth and breathe in deeply. Hold your breath for a few seconds so that the medication will stay in your lungs. If you have been directed to inhale a second time, advance to the next medication blister and repeat the process. Once you have inhaled the number of times prescribed, replace the cover of the diskhaler. This medication works best when the amount of medicine in your body is kept at a constant level. Take the drug at evenly spaced intervals (e.g., every 12 hours). Continue to take this medication until the full prescribed amount is finished, even if symptoms improve. Stopping the medication too early may allow the virus to continue to grow, resulting in a relapse of the infection. It is recommended that this medication be used within 48 hours of the start of flu symptoms. If you have breathing problems (asthma or COPD) and are scheduled to use inhaled bronchodilators (e.g., albuterol) at the same time as zanamivir, use the asthma medication before using zanamivir. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more details.

Side Effects

Nausea, diarrhea or headache may occur. If any of these effects persist or worsen, notify your doctor promptly. Tell your doctor immediately if you have any of these unlikely but serious side effects: cough, runny nose, sore throat, fever, fatigue, muscle or joint pain, ear pain. An allergic reaction to this drug is unlikely, but seek immediate medical attention if it occurs. Symptoms of an allergic reaction include: rash, itching, swelling, dizziness, trouble breathing. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.


Tell your doctor your medical history, including: allergies, lung or breathing problems (e.g., asthma, COPD), kidney problems. Limit alcohol intake, as it may intensify certain side effects of this medication (e.g., dizziness). Use caution when performing tasks requiring alertness (e.g., driving). This medication is not generally recommended for treatment of flu if you have lung problems (e.g., asthma, emphysema/COPD). This medication can cause breathing problems (e.g., bronchospasm), which in rare cases can be fatal. If you have lung/breathing problems and are using this medication, have a fast-acting inhaled bronchodilator (e.g., albuterol inhaler) readily available. If you experience breathing problems, stop using zanamivir and contact your doctor immediately. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for details. This medication should be used only when clearly needed during pregnancy. Discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor. It is not known whether this drug is passed into breast milk. Consult your doctor before breast-feeding.

Drug Interactions

Tell your doctor of all prescription and nonprescription medication you may use, especially: inhaled medications such as albuterol. Do not start or stop any medicine without doctor or pharmacist approval.


If overdose is suspected, contact your local poison control center or emergency room immediately.


Do not share this medication with others. Consult your doctor about the risks and important benefits of receiving a yearly flu shot (vaccination) to prevent infection.

Missed Dose

If you miss a dose, use it as soon as you remember. If it is near the time of the next dose, skip the missed dose and resume your usual dosing schedule. Do not double the dose to catch up.


Store at room temperature between 59 and 86 degrees F (15 to 30 degrees C) away from light and moisture.