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Tamiflu Antiviral Flu Medication: Availability, Mixing and Dosing Options

Tamiflu is one of two antiviral medications that are effective against the H1N1 pandemic virus. Tamiflu is available in capsule and liquid (oral suspension) formulations. There are millions of treatment courses of Tamiflu in the U.S., and Roche continues to make all formulations of Tamiflu. However, deliveries of the liquid form to some locations are going to be sporadic this fall.

To ensure that Roche can meet public health needs during the H1N1 pandemic, they have increased production of the 75 mg capsules that can be used by adults OR converted to a liquid for children. This allows for the antiviral to be available to whomever may need it. By doing this, the medicine will be available to 25 times the number of children in the same amount of time it would normally take to make liquid version for one child.

Pharmacists may need to compound a liquid suspension using Tamiflu capsules and instructions were approved by the FDA in 2006. Instructions are included in the Tamiflu package insert.

To assist pharmacists and physicians, Roche developed these materials:

  1. For pharmacists– Instructions for emergency compounding of oral suspension from 75 mg capsules (to be used when liquid suspension is not available).
  2. For physicians/prescribers– Dosing card with overview of available formulations and dosing recommendations for adults and children.

Roche distributed a letter to U.S. pharmacists and other healthcare professionals to remind them to ensure that the units of measure written on the prescription for liquid formulations of Tamiflu are consistent with the units of measure on the device used to administer the medicine. Get more information here.

Health professionals may direct questions to the Roche Pharmaceuticals Service Center at 1-800-526-6367.

Tamiflu is recommended by the CDC for treatment and prevention of seasonal influenza as well as pandemic H1N1 influenza. Get more information here.

CDC also recently issued specific information for pharmacists regarding antivirals. Get more information here.