What Medicine to Take for Flu: A Comprehensive Guide to Choosing the Right Medication

I. Introduction

The flu can be a nasty virus that can put a damper on your day-to-day life. Depending on the severity of the flu, it can leave you feeling exhausted, feverish, and with aching muscles all over. Finding the perfect medication to alleviate your symptoms is crucial to a speedy recovery. This article provides an in-depth guide on what medicine to take for flu to help you choose the best medication for you.

It’s important to note that taking the right medicine is vital as untreated flu can lead to other complications, such as pneumonia. Although the influenza vaccine can help avoid the flu, it doesn’t stop everyone from getting the flu. That’s why it’s essential to treat flu symptoms to ease the discomfort and speed up recovery. Different medications work in different ways, but most flu medications aim to lessen the severity of your symptoms and shorten the duration of the flu.

II. Know Your Options: A Comprehensive Guide to Choosing the Right Medicine for Flu

There are four types of flu medication:

  • Neuraminidase inhibitors: Oseltamivir(phosphate) (Tamiflu), and Zanamivir (Relenza).
  • Adamantanes: Amantadine(Hydrochloride) (Symmetrel)
  • Peramivir (Rapivab)
  • Baloxavir marboxil (Xofluza).

Each medication works in several ways, but they all lead to a shorter flu duration and lessening flu symptoms. Here is a breakdown of each medication:

Neuraminidase Inhibitors: Tamiflu and Relenza

Neuraminidase inhibitors are antiviral medications commonly used to treat the flu. Tamiflu and Relenza help shorten flu symptoms duration by attacking the virus directly. They work by blocking the function of the neuraminidase enzyme in the virus, making it unable to enter and infect other cells in the body.

The pros of neuraminidase inhibitors include:

  • Reduces flu symptoms duration
  • Effective in lessening severity in flu symptoms such as fever, cough, and sore throat.

However, there are also cons to this medication.

  • It’s recommended to take Tamiflu within 48 hours of flu symptom onset. Beyond that, they can technically still work, but the effect is reduced.
  • Relenza can cause bronchospasm or tightness in the chest and is not recommended for people with asthma or other lung conditions.

Adamantanes: Symmetrel

A second class of antivirals used to treat the flu includes adamantanes. Symmetrel blocks the entry of the virus into cells and prevents its replication.

The pros of adamantanes medication are:

  • Helps to reduce fever and other flu symptoms
  • Less expensive than other antiviral medications

However, Symmetrel is not the best choice for flu medications due to its low effectiveness. In addition, influenza strains resistant to adamantanes are increasingly common.


Peramivir is another antiviral medication used to reduce the severity and duration of the flu. It works by stopping the enzyme neuraminidase, which the flu virus uses to exit infected cells.

Peramivir has several pros, including:

  • Has a long half-life, which means it stays in the body longer.
  • Effective when taken within 24 to 48 hours of flu symptom onset.

The cons of Peramivir medication include:

  • Peramivir has only been approved for intravenous (IV) use which means it can only be administered in hospitals.
  • Peramivir is not suitable for inpatient treatment.


Xofluza is the most recent anti-flu medication to gain FDA approval, and it works differently than other types of medication. It shortens the duration of flu symptoms by blocking an enzyme the virus needs to replicate.

The pros of Xofluza medication include:

  • Highly effective, and taking this medication helps shorten flu symptoms duration.
  • A single dosage is required, and it entails consuming only two tablets.

The cons of Xofluza medication include:

  • Xofluza is relatively new, and very few studies have been conducted on its side effects and risks.
  • Not recommended for children under the age of 12 or pregnant women.

III. Flu Fighting: Which Medication is Right for You?

Choosing the right medication to fight the flu is crucial in ensuring a speedy recovery. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when choosing the right medication when there are so many options available. Here are some factors to consider when choosing the right medication for your flu symptoms:

  • The flu strain you have
  • Your age
  • Any allergies you may have to medications
  • Any underlying medical conditions

It’s also important to remember that over-the-counter flu medications may not work for everyone, and stronger medication may be needed for more severe cases. Consulting a doctor or medical professional is essential when making these decisions.

There are over-the-counter flu medications available, and they work in the same way as prescription medication in reducing flu symptoms. However, there are differences between these two options. Prescription medications tend to be stronger and more effective than over-the-counter options, but there is a significant price difference between the two.

It’s important to note that if symptoms persist or become more severe, it may be necessary to see a doctor. If symptoms last longer than several days, a more potent medication administered by prescription might be necessary.

IV. The Ultimate Medicine Guide for Flu Season

The following is an overview of the most common medications for flu:

  • Neuraminidase inhibitors: antiviral medications that target the virus directly.
  • Adamantanes: antiviral medications that aim to stop the virus’s replication
  • Peramivir: another antiviral medication that shortens flu symptoms duration by stopping the virus’s exit from infected cells.
  • Xofluza: the most recent anti-viral medication that works differently than other types of medication.

It’s easy to see that the best medicine for the flu is the medication that’s effective in treating your unique symptoms. Finding the right medication and dosage is essential, and your doctor or pharmacist can help determine the right medication for you.

V. Over-the-Counter Flu Medications: Which Ones Actually Work?

There are several over-the-counter flu medications available in the market, and these include:

  • Aspirin, Ibuprofen, and Acetaminophen
  • Decongestants
  • Antihistamines
  • Cough suppressants and expectorants

Aspirin, Ibuprofen, and Acetaminophen

Aspirin, Ibuprofen, and Acetaminophen reduce fever and pain associated with the flu. Acetaminophen is the safest option for children, and Aspirin should avoid being administered to children under the age of 16 due to its association with Reye’s syndrome.


Decongestants help alleviate the stuffy nose that’s common in the flu. They also help reduce sinus pressure and headaches.


Antihistamines alleviate the symptoms of the flu that result in discomfort, such as runny nose, sneezing, and coughing. They also reduce the severity of the flu symptoms and aid in a faster recovery.

Cough Suppressants and Expectorants

Cough suppressants and expectorants provide relief from coughs associated with the flu. Expectorants help to thin mucus, while cough suppressants reduce the severity of the cough.

VI. Your Essential List of Flu Medicines: Choosing the Best Treatment for Your Symptoms

Choosing the right medication for the flu can be confusing due to the several medications available. Here is our essential list of flu medicines to help you choose the best treatment for your symptoms:

  • Consult with a doctor or pharmacist if you’re unsure
  • Always follow the dosage instructions provided on the medication
  • Always consider the flu strain, age, underlying health conditions, and allergies when choosing medication
  • If symptoms persist or get worse, it’s crucial to speak to a doctor or medical professional

VII. Conclusion

Having the flu can be a terrible experience, but proper medication can help alleviate symptoms and speed up recovery. Choosing the right medication is crucial in ensuring a quicker, more comfortable recovery. Over-the-counter flu medications may relieve mild to moderate flu symptoms, but prescription medication may be necessary for severe symptoms or underlying medical conditions.

It’s vital to speak to a doctor or pharmacist when choosing medication, especially if you’re unsure or have multiple underlying health conditions. Proper medication can help improve the flu symptoms while also promoting speedy recovery, helping you bounce back to your normal self in no time.

Webben Editor

Hello! I'm Webben, your guide to intriguing insights about our diverse world. I strive to share knowledge, ignite curiosity, and promote understanding across various fields. Join me on this enlightening journey as we explore and grow together.

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