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Neuraminidase Inhibitors: Uses, Common Brands, and Safety Info

Neuraminidase inhibitors are antiviral drugs that target the neuraminidase enzyme on influenza viruses. They are used to treat and prevent the flu, reduce symptoms, and are available under brands like Tamiflu and Relenza. Common side effects include nausea and headache, and they are not a substitute for annual flu vaccination.

Neuraminidase Inhibitors

Neuraminidase inhibitors are a class of antiviral drugs that specifically target the neuraminidase enzyme found on the surface of influenza viruses. These medications work by inhibiting the activity of neuraminidase, an enzyme that is essential for the release of newly formed virus particles from infected cells. By preventing the spread of the virus within the body, neuraminidase inhibitors can help reduce the severity and duration of influenza symptoms.


Neuraminidase inhibitors are primarily used for the treatment and prevention of influenza infections, including both influenza A and influenza B strains. They are often prescribed for individuals at higher risk of complications from the flu, such as the elderly, young children, and those with certain medical conditions. These medications are most effective when started within 48 hours of the onset of flu symptoms.

Common Brands

There are several common brands of neuraminidase inhibitors available on the market today. Oseltamivir (brand name Tamiflu) is available in both oral capsule and liquid formulations and is approved for use in individuals aged 2 weeks and older. Zanamivir (brand name Relenza) is an inhaled medication approved for individuals aged 7 years and older. Peramivir (brand name Rapivab) is an intravenous medication approved for individuals aged 18 years and older.


Neuraminidase inhibitors are generally well-tolerated medications, but like any drug, they may cause side effects in some individuals. Common side effects include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, headache, and dizziness. Rarely, more serious side effects such as allergic reactions and psychiatric symptoms (such as confusion or abnormal behavior) may occur. It is essential to discuss any known allergies or pre-existing medical conditions with your healthcare provider before starting treatment with a neuraminidase inhibitor. It is important to note that neuraminidase inhibitors are not a substitute for annual influenza vaccination. Vaccination remains the most effective preventive measure against influenza. However, in the event of an outbreak or if you develop flu symptoms despite being vaccinated, the use of neuraminidase inhibitors may be recommended by your healthcare provider. In conclusion, neuraminidase inhibitors are a valuable class of antiviral drugs used for the treatment and prevention of influenza infections. It is important to follow your healthcare provider's instructions and discuss any concerns or questions regarding these medications.

List of Neuraminidase Inhibitors