Can You Take Tamiflu Without Confirming You Have The Flu?

In our latest question and answer, the pharmacist discusses whether or not you can take Tamiflu if you don't have a confirmed case of the flu.

Feb 23, 2019

kay asked

My child was prescribed Tamiflu but was not administered any test to confirm she actually has the flu. She did get the flu shot back in October of 2018. I'm concerned about giving her the Tamiflu if there is a chance she doesn't have the flu. I don't know if it can cause harm. Also, since she has had the flu vaccine, what are the chances of the side effects?

At a glance

  • When Tamiflu is used to treat the flu (regardless of whether or not it is a confirmed case), it is dosed twice a day for 5 days.
  • When Tamiflu is used for the prevention of the flu, it is dosed once a day for 10 days.
  • The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends to start Tamiflu therapy as soon as possible for a suspected case of the flu (influenza). You do not need to have a laboratory confirmed test. Additionally, Tamiflu is used not just for the treatment of flu, but also the prevention of it in those exposed to the virus.


Tamiflu (Oseltamivir) can be taken, even if you haven't had any tests confirming you actually have the flu.

In fact, waiting for a confirmatory laboratory test isn't recommended by the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) since Tamiflu is most effective when given as soon as possible. Per the CDC

The recommendation to separate administration of the live flu vaccine and Tamiflu does not apply to the inactivated flu vaccine (which is more common). That vaccine and Tamiflu can be administered concurrently.


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