Pharm 101: Oseltamivir


Anti-influenza agent

Other examples: zanamivir, amantadine

  • Oseltamivir and zanamavir are neuraminidase (a glycoprotein) inhibitors
  • Disrupt viral replication and release
  • Active against both influenza A and B
  • PO administration
  • Activated by hepatic esterases and widely distributed
  • Bioavailability 80%
  • Low plasma protein binding
  • Half-life 6-10 hours
  • Renal excretion by glomerular filtration and tubular secretion
Clinical uses
  • Treatment of uncomplicated influenza
    • 5 day course of therapy (75 mg BD) within 48 hours of symptom onset shortens severity and duration of illness
    • May decrease incidence of respiratory complications
  • Higher risk groups e.g. indigenous, elderly, pregnant women, immunocompromised
    • Primary prevention by vaccination is preferred
    • Used preferably at early phase of pandemic to limit spread and numbers infected, and limit severity of disease in those infected
  • Once daily prophylaxis is 70-90% effective in preventing disease after exposure
Adverse effects
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Headache
  • Fatigue and diarrhoea (more common with prophylactic use)
  • Neuropsychiatric events (self-injury and delirium) have been reported
  • Dose adjustment in renal insufficiency
Pharm 101 700

Pharmacology 101

Top 200 drugs

MBBS CCPU (RCE, Biliary, DVT, E-FAST, AAA) Rob is an Emergency Medicine Advanced Trainee based in Melbourne, Australia. He has special interests in medical education, ECG interpretation, and the use of diagnostic and procedural ultrasound in the undifferentiated and unwell patient.

Follow him on twitter: @rob_buttner | ECG Library |

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.