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Tamiflu (Oseltamivir Phosphate) - Warnings and Precautions




There is no evidence for efficacy of TAMIFLU in any illness caused by agents other than influenza viruses Types A and B.

Use of TAMIFLU should not affect the evaluation of individuals for annual influenza vaccination in accordance with guidelines of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices.

Efficacy of TAMIFLU in patients who begin treatment after 40 hours of symptoms has not been established.

Efficacy of TAMIFLU in the treatment of subjects with chronic cardiac disease and/or respiratory disease has not been established. No difference in the incidence of complications was observed between the treatment and placebo groups in this population. No information is available regarding treatment of influenza in patients with any medical condition sufficiently severe or unstable to be considered at imminent risk of requiring hospitalization.

Safety and efficacy of repeated treatment or prophylaxis courses have not been studied.

Efficacy of TAMIFLU for treatment or prophylaxis has not been established in immunocompromised patients.

Serious bacterial infections may begin with influenza-like symptoms or may coexist with or occur as complications during the course of influenza. TAMIFLU has not been shown to prevent such complications.

Hepatic Impairment

The safety and pharmacokinetics in patients with severe hepatic impairment have not been evaluated (see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION).

Renal Impairment

Dose adjustment is recommended for patients with a serum creatinine clearance <30 mL/min (see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION).

Serious Skin/Hypersensitivity Reactions

Rare cases of anaphylaxis and serious skin reactions including toxic epidermal necrolysis, Stevens-Johnson Syndrome, and erythema multiforme have been reported in post-marketing experience with TAMIFLU. TAMIFLU should be stopped and appropriate treatment instituted if an allergic-like reaction occurs or is suspected.

Neuropsychiatric Events

Influenza can be associated with a variety of neurologic and behavioral symptoms which can include events such as hallucinations, delirium, and abnormal behavior, in some cases resulting in fatal outcomes. These events may occur in the setting of encephalitis or encephalopathy but can occur without obvious severe disease.

There have been postmarketing reports (mostly from Japan) of delirium and abnormal behavior leading to injury, and in some cases resulting in fatal outcomes, in patients with influenza who were receiving TAMIFLU. Because these events were reported voluntarily during clinical practice, estimates of frequency cannot be made but they appear to be uncommon based on TAMIFLU usage data. These events were reported primarily among pediatric patients and often had an abrupt onset and rapid resolution. The contribution of TAMIFLU to these events has not been established. Patients with influenza should be closely monitored for signs of abnormal behavior. If neuropsychiatric symptoms occur, the risks and benefits of continuing treatment should be evaluated for each patient.

Information for Patients

Patients should be instructed to begin treatment with TAMIFLU as soon as possible from the first appearance of flu symptoms. Similarly, prevention should begin as soon as possible after exposure, at the recommendation of a physician.

Patients should be instructed to take any missed doses as soon as they remember, except if it is near the next scheduled dose (within 2 hours), and then continue to take TAMIFLU at the usual times.

TAMIFLU is not a substitute for a flu vaccination. Patients should continue receiving an annual flu vaccination according to guidelines on immunization practices.

A bottle of 13 g TAMIFLU for Oral Suspension contains approximately 11 g sorbitol. One dose of 75 mg TAMIFLU for Oral Suspension delivers 2 g sorbitol. For patients with hereditary fructose intolerance, this is above the daily maximum limit of sorbitol and may cause dyspepsia and diarrhea.

Drug Interactions

The concurrent use of TAMIFLU with live attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV) intranasal has not been evaluated. However, because of the potential for interference between these products, LAIV should not be administered within 2 weeks before or 48 hours after administration of TAMIFLU, unless medically indicated. The concern about possible interference arises from the potential for antiviral drugs to inhibit replication of live vaccine virus. Trivalent inactivated influenza vaccine can be administered at any time relative to use of TAMIFLU.

Information derived from pharmacology and pharmacokinetic studies of oseltamivir suggests that clinically significant drug interactions are unlikely.

Oseltamivir is extensively converted to oseltamivir carboxylate by esterases, located predominantly in the liver. Drug interactions involving competition for esterases have not been extensively reported in literature. Low protein binding of oseltamivir and oseltamivir carboxylate suggests that the probability of drug displacement interactions is low.

In vitro studies demonstrate that neither oseltamivir nor oseltamivir carboxylate is a good substrate for P450 mixed-function oxidases or for glucuronyl transferases.

Clinically important drug interactions involving competition for renal tubular secretion are unlikely due to the known safety margin for most of these drugs, the elimination characteristics of oseltamivir carboxylate (glomerular filtration and anionic tubular secretion) and the excretion capacity of these pathways. Coadministration of probenecid results in an approximate twofold increase in exposure to oseltamivir carboxylate due to a decrease in active anionic tubular secretion in the kidney. However, due to the safety margin of oseltamivir carboxylate, no dose adjustments are required when coadministering with probenecid.

No pharmacokinetic interactions have been observed when coadministering oseltamivir with amoxicillin, acetaminophen, cimetidine or with antacids (magnesium and aluminum hydroxides and calcium carbonates).

Carcinogenesis, Mutagenesis, and Impairment of Fertility

In 2-year carcinogenicity studies in mice and rats given daily oral doses of the pro-drug oseltamivir phosphate up to 400 mg/kg and 500 mg/kg, respectively, the pro-drug oseltamivir phosphate and the active form oseltamivir carboxylate induced no statistically significant increases in tumors over controls. The mean maximum daily exposures to the prodrug in mice and rats were approximately 130- and 320-fold, respectively, greater than those in humans at the proposed clinical dose based on AUC comparisons. The respective safety margins of the exposures to the active oseltamivir carboxylate were 15- and 50-fold.

Oseltamivir was found to be non-mutagenic in the Ames test and the human lymphocyte chromosome assay with and without enzymatic activation and negative in the mouse micronucleus test. It was found to be positive in a Syrian Hamster Embryo (SHE) cell transformation test. Oseltamivir carboxylate was non-mutagenic in the Ames test and the L5178Y mouse lymphoma assay with and without enzymatic activation and negative in the SHE cell transformation test.

In a fertility and early embryonic development study in rats, doses of oseltamivir at 50, 250, and 1500 mg/kg/day were administered to females for 2 weeks before mating, during mating and until day 6 of pregnancy. Males were dosed for 4 weeks before mating, during and for 2 weeks after mating. There were no effects on fertility, mating performance or early embryonic development at any dose level. The highest dose was approximately 100 times the human systemic exposure (AUC0-24h) of oseltamivir carboxylate.


Pregnancy Category C

There are insufficient human data upon which to base an evaluation of risk of TAMIFLU to the pregnant woman or developing fetus. Studies for effects on embryo-fetal development were conducted in rats (50, 250, and 1500 mg/kg/day) and rabbits (50, 150, and 500 mg/kg/day) by the oral route. Relative exposures at these doses were, respectively, 2, 13, and 100 times human exposure in the rat and 4, 8, and 50 times human exposure in the rabbit. Pharmacokinetic studies indicated that fetal exposure was seen in both species. In the rat study, minimal maternal toxicity was reported in the 1500 mg/kg/day group. In the rabbit study, slight and marked maternal toxicities were observed, respectively, in the 150 and 500 mg/kg/day groups. There was a dose-dependent increase in the incidence rates of a variety of minor skeletal abnormalities and variants in the exposed offspring in these studies. However, the individual incidence rate of each skeletal abnormality or variant remained within the background rates of occurrence in the species studied.

Because animal reproductive studies may not be predictive of human response and there are no adequate and well-controlled studies in pregnant women, TAMIFLU should be used during pregnancy only if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the fetus.

Nursing Mothers

In lactating rats, oseltamivir and oseltamivir carboxylate are excreted in the milk. It is not known whether oseltamivir or oseltamivir carboxylate is excreted in human milk. TAMIFLU should, therefore, be used only if the potential benefit for the lactating mother justifies the potential risk to the breast-fed infant.

Geriatric Use

The safety of TAMIFLU has been established in clinical studies which enrolled 741 subjects (374 received placebo and 362 received TAMIFLU). Some seasonal variability was noted in the clinical efficacy outcomes (see INDICATIONS AND USAGE: Description of Clinical Studies: Studies in Naturally Occurring Influenza: Treatment of Influenza: Geriatric Patients).

Safety and efficacy have been demonstrated in elderly residents of nursing homes who took TAMIFLU for up to 42 days for the prevention of influenza. Many of these individuals had cardiac and/or respiratory disease, and most had received vaccine that season (see INDICATIONS AND USAGE: Description of Clinical Studies: Studies in Naturally Occurring Influenza: Prophylaxis of Influenza: Adult Patients).

Pediatric Use

The safety and efficacy of TAMIFLU in pediatric patients younger than 1 year of age have not been studied. TAMIFLU is not indicated for either treatment or prophylaxis of influenza in pediatric patients younger than 1 year of age because of uncertainties regarding the rate of development of the human blood-brain barrier and the unknown clinical significance of non-clinical animal toxicology data for human infants (see ANIMAL TOXICOLOGY).

Page last updated: 2009-08-31

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