Why is it prescribed?
Relenza® contains zanamivir.
Zanamivir is used to treat uncomplicated illness caused by influenza A and B virus in people 7 years and older, who have not had symptoms for more than 2 days. It is important to remember that zanamivir is not a vaccine and that it is sometimes used in people who have had their annual flu shot. Treatment with zanamivir must begin within 48 hours after the first appearance of flu symptoms or it will be of very little benefit.
Relenza® contains zanamivir.
Along with its needed effects, zanamivir may cause some unwanted or undesirable effects.
Generally, zanamivir is well tolerated and many people will not experience unwanted effects.
Possible unwanted effects include:
- nausea and vomiting
- irritation of the nose
- breathing problems (e.g. bronchospasm) has occurred in patients with asthma or COPD
Precautions and Warnings for Relenza®
Relenza® contains zanamivir
Zanamivir should not be used to prevent influenza.
There is no information on the efficacy of zanamivir if treatment is started after 2 days of symptoms.
Zanamivir is generally not recommended for treatment in people with severe lung disease due to the risk of side effects. Drug Interactions: It is unlikely that zanamivir will interact with any other medications you are taking. However, it is important that you inform your doctor and pharmacist of all the prescription and over-the-counter medications that you are taking.
Use is not recommended in the following situations:
- allergy to zanamivir or any component of the inhalation powder (including lactose)
- children under 7 years of age
Caution is recommended in the following situations:
- people with chronic respiratory disease
Use in pregnancy: Be sure to inform your doctor and pharmacist if you are or suspect you may be pregnant.
Use while breastfeeding: It is not known whether zanamivir passes into the breast milk. Your doctor or pharmacist will advise you on what is best for you and your baby.
Zanamivir dry powder inhaler is not to be reconsituted into a liquid and used in a nebulizer or a mechanical ventilator.
Relenza® is inhaled (not swallowed) as a powder by using a diskhaler. The package insert includes instructions which should be followed closely. However, a demonstration by your pharmacist is the best way to ensure the device is being used properly.
If you use a bronchodilator and the Relenza® dose is scheduled for the same time, then the bronchodilator should be used first.
There is a risk of bronchospasm associated with the use of Relenza® in people with asthma or COPD and therefore rescue medication should be available. If you experience worsening of respiratory symptoms, you should discontinue Relenza® and contact your doctor.
Directions for Use
The usual dose for adults and children 7 years and older is to inhale 2 blisters (one 5 mg blister per inhalation for a total single dose of 10 mg) twice daily for 5 days.
Lung Diseases Treated with this Drug
Need More Information?
For more information contact your physician, pharmacist, other health care professional or for general questions call your local lung association.