Proper Use

Drug information provided by: Micromedex

Talk to your doctor about the possibility of getting a flu shot if you have not had one yet. This medicine works best if used as soon as possible after exposure to people who have the flu. If you already have the flu, continue using this medicine for the full time of treatment even if you begin to feel better after a few days. This will help to clear up your infection completely. If you stop using this medicine too soon, your symptoms may return. This medicine should be taken for 5 days.

Inhaled zanamivir is to be used only with a special inhaler (Diskhaler®). Do not mix this medicine with other solutions. Do not use this medicine in any nebulizer or mechanical ventilator.

This medicine usually comes with patient instructions. Read them carefully before using the medicine. If you do not understand the directions or you are not sure how to use the inhaler, ask your doctor to show you how to use it.

To load the inhaler:

  • Pull off the blue cover. Make sure the mouthpiece is clean and free of foreign objects.
  • Pull the white mouthpiece until the tray is extended.
  • Hold the corners of the white tray and pull out gently until you can see all the raised ridges on the sides of the tray.
  • Put your finger and thumb on the ridges, squeeze inward, and gently pull the tray out of the body of the inhaler.
  • Place a disk on the wheel and then slide the tray back into the inhaler.
  • To replace the empty disk with a full disk, follow the same steps you used to load the inhaler.

To use the inhaler:

  • Hold the inhaler flat in your hand.
  • A plastic needle will break the blister containing one inhalation of medicine. When the flap is raised as far as it will go, the blister will be pierced. Do not lift the flap if the cartridge is not in the inhaler. Doing this will break the needle and you will need a new inhaler.
  • After the blister is broken open, close the lid. Keeping the inhaler flat and well away from your mouth, breathe out to the end of a normal breath.
  • Raise the inhaler to your mouth, and place the mouthpiece in your mouth.
  • Close your lips around the mouthpiece and tilt your head slightly back. Do not bite down on the mouthpiece. Do not block the mouthpiece with your teeth or tongue. Do not cover the air holes on the side of the mouthpiece.
  • Breathe in through your mouth as steadily and as deeply as you can until you have taken a full deep breath.
  • Hold your breath and remove the mouthpiece from your mouth. Continue holding your breath as long as you can up to 10 seconds before breathing out. This gives the medicine time to settle in your airways and lungs.
  • Hold the inhaler well away from your mouth and breathe out to the end of a normal breath.
  • Prepare the cartridge for your next inhalation. Pull the mouthpiece to extend the tray then push it in until it clicks. The disk will turn to the next dose. Do not pierce the blister until just before the inhalation.
  • Take the second puff following exactly the same steps you used for the first puff.
  • When you are finished, wipe off the mouthpiece and replace the cover to keep the mouthpiece clean and free of foreign objects.

If you are also using another inhaled bronchodilator (e.g., albuterol, Atrovent®, Combivent®, or Serevent®), use it before you use zanamivir.

Dosing

The dose of this medicine will be different for different patients. Follow your doctor's orders or the directions on the label. The following information includes only the average doses of this medicine. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so.

The amount of medicine that you take depends on the strength of the medicine. Also, the number of doses you take each day, the time allowed between doses, and the length of time you take the medicine depend on the medical problem for which you are using the medicine.

  • For inhalation dosage form (powder):
    • For prevention of flu in a household:
      • Adults, teenagers, and children 5 years of age and older—Two puffs once a day for 10 days. Doses should be taken at the same time each day. Zanamivir must be started within 36 hours after the onset of signs and symptoms of the flu in a household.
      • Children younger than 5 years of age—Use and dose must be determined by your doctor.
    • For prevention of flu during community outbreaks:
      • Adults, teenagers, and children 5 years of age and older—Two puffs once a day for 28 days. Doses should be taken at the same time each day. Zanamivir must be started within 5 days after the outbreak was identified in the community.
      • Children younger than 5 years of age—Use and dose must be determined by your doctor.
    • For treatment of the flu:
      • Adults, teenagers, and children 7 years of age and older—Two puffs two times a day (about 12 hours apart in the morning and evening) for 5 days. Doses should be taken at the same time each day. Two doses should be taken on the first day of treatment whenever possible provided there are at least 2 hours between doses. Zanamivir must be started within 48 hours after the onset of signs and symptoms of the flu.
      • Children younger than 7 years of age—Use and dose must be determined by your doctor.
    • Canada: For treatment of flu:
      • Adults, teenagers, and children 12 years of age and older—Two puffs two times a day (about 12 hours apart in the morning and evening) for 5 days. Two doses should be taken on the first day of treatment whenever possible provided there are at least 2 hours between doses. Zanamivir must be started within 48 hours after the onset of signs and symptoms of the flu.
      • Children younger than 12 years of age—Use and dose must be determined by your doctor.

Missed Dose

If you miss a dose of this medicine, take it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not double doses.

If you miss a dose or forget to use it, use it as soon as you can, except if it is less than 2 hours before your next dose. Use your next dose at the normal time. Do not use extra medicine to make up for a missed dose.

Storage

Keep the medicine in the foil pouch until you are ready to use it. Store at room temperature, away from heat and direct light. Do not freeze.

Keep out of the reach of children.

Do not keep outdated medicine or medicine no longer needed.

Ask your healthcare professional how you should dispose of any medicine you do not use.