When you get the flu, there are drugs that are recommended to help you get better faster. Three antiviral drugs, amantadine (Symmetrel), rimantadine (Flumadine), and oseltamivir (Tamiflu) are available in the U.S. for influenza. These medications are only partially effective and not effective at all unless they are started within the first two days of symptoms. They are prescription drugs and have serious potential risks. Besides the more common side effects of nausea, vomiting, dizziness, and insomnia, rare but serious adverse reactions have been reported, including depression, suicide, and a potentially fatal reaction called neuroleptic malignant syndrome, which involves a high fever, muscle rigidity, and mental status changes.
More Answers from Joel Fuhrman, MD