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You are here : 3-RX.com > Drugs & Medications > Quick Drug Information (DrugNotes) > Zanamivir (Inhalation)

Zanamivir (By Breathing)

Zanamivir (za-NA-mi-veer)

Treats influenza (flu) type A or B.

Brand Name(s):

There may be other brand names for this medicine.

When This Medicine Should Not Be Used:

You should not use this medicine if you have had an allergic reaction to zanamivir.

How to Use This Medicine:


  • Your doctor will tell you how much of this medicine to use and how often. Do not use more medicine or use it more often than your doctor tells you to.
  • Relenza® is a powder that is used with its own special inhaler device called a Diskhaler®. Individually measured doses of the powder are held in a foil blister package that is placed into the Diskhaler®. The Diskhaler® pierces each blister one at a time to load the correct dose into the chamber when you are ready to use the medicine. An adult needs to supervise a child who is using the Diskhaler®.
  • This medicine comes with patient instructions. Read and follow these instructions carefully. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions about how to use the Diskhaler®.
  • It is best to start using this medicine within the first 2 days of having flu symptoms. Use two doses on the first day. Allow at least 2 hours to pass before using your second dose.
  • After the first day, use the medicine 2 times each day (about every 12 hours) for 5 days.
  • Keep using this medicine for the full treatment time, even if you feel better after the first few doses. Your flu infection may not clear up if you stop using the medicine too soon.
  • If you are also using a bronchodilator medicine that you inhale (such as albuterol, Atrovent®, Combivent®, Serevent®), use it before you use zanamivir.

If a dose is missed:

  • If you miss a dose or forget to use your medicine, use it as soon as you can. If it is less than 2 hours until your next dose, wait until then to use the medicine and skip the missed dose.
  • Do not use extra medicine to make up for a missed dose.
How to Store and Dispose of This Medicine:

  • Store the medicine at room temperature away from heat and direct light. Do not break the foil on the Rotadisk®.
  • Ask your pharmacist, doctor, or health caregiver about the best way to dispose of the used medicine container and any leftover medicine. You will also need to throw away old medicine after the expiration date has passed.
  • Keep all medicine out of the reach of children and never share your medicine with anyone.
Drugs and Foods to Avoid:

Ask your doctor or pharmacist before using any other medicine, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.

Warnings While Using This Medicine:

  • Make sure your doctor knows if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, or if you have lung disease (especially asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)).
  • Do not give this medicine to a child under 7 years of age, unless the child's doctor has ordered it.
  • You should not use this medicine to treat other types of flu.
  • This medicine does not take the place of a yearly flu vaccination. Zanamivir does not prevent the flu.
  • Although you may feel better while using this medicine, other people may still be able to catch the flu from you.
Possible Side Effects While Using This Medicine:

Call your doctor right away if you notice any of these side effects:

  • Allergic reaction: Itching or hives, swelling in face or hands, swelling or tingling in the mouth or throat, tightness in chest, trouble breathing
  • Increased wheezing, shortness of breath

If you notice these less serious side effects, talk with your doctor:

  • Cough or hoarseness
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea
  • Sneezing or runny nose
If you notice other side effects that you think are caused by this medicine, tell your doctor.

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