image for meds do's and don'ts article The best way to prevent the flu is to be vaccinated every year. But what if you end up with the flu? You may need to take prescription antiviral medications if you are at high-risk for complications.

For the 2012-2013 flu season, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends oseltamivir and zanamivir for the treatment of the flu.


Oseltamivir is approved for the treatment of the flu in people aged 2 weeks and older. This medication can also be taken by pregnant women.

Common side effects include nausea and vomiting. These may happen within the first two days of taking oseltamivir. There is also a risk, especially in children, of unusual behavior such as self-injury and confusion. It is important that people who take this medication be closely monitored.


Zanamivir, which comes in a disk inhaler, is approved for people aged seven years and older who do not have breathing or heart problems. Common side effects include:

Like oseltamivir, zanamivir may cause unusual behavior, especially in children.