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Can You Buy Tamiflu Over the Counter?

Dr. Heidi Lightfoot

Dr. Heidi Lightfoot

Read more posts by this author.

October 19, 2019 Read Time - 4 minutes

About Author

Medically reviewed by Dr. Heidi Lightfoot, MD who is an anesthesiologist in Hampshire, United Kingdom. Alongside her clinical work, she has an interest in medical writing and clinical research.

Can You Buy Tamiflu Over the Counter?

You can get a prescription for Tamiflu from your doctor, but it is not available over the counter.

Tamiflu is an antiviral medication used for the treatment and prevention of influenza (flu).

It may be effective at preventing the flu, and at reducing the severity or duration of flu symptoms, if you start taking it soon after you start feeling sick.

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What is Tamiflu?

Tamiflu is the brand name of an antiviral drug called oseltamivir phosphate.

Tamiflu can be prescribed by your doctor and may help lessen the symptoms of the flu if you start taking it within 48 hours of your first symptoms.

On average, Tamiflu can help you recover 12 to 24 hours faster than if you don’t take any medication at all.

Not everyone needs Tamiflu – it is recommended for people who might be at risk of more serious complications of the flu, such as pregnant women, children, older people, or people who have autoimmune diseases or reduced immunity.

How Does Tamiflu Work?

Tamiflu works by attacking the flu virus to prevent it from spreading throughout your body. This medication works best if it is started within one to two days of your first symptoms.

The dose of Tamiflu depends on why you are taking it. If somebody close to you has got the flu and you are trying to avoid getting it yourself, your doctor may prescribe a prescription for Tamiflu once a day for at least 10 days.

If you already have the flu, your doctor may prescribe Tamiflu once every 12 hours for five days.

When to Use Tamiflu

Tamiflu only works for the flu, not simple coughs and colds caused by other viruses.

If you aren’t sure whether you have a cold or the flu and are unsure if you might benefit from Tamiflu, there a few differences that can help distinguish the two illnesses.

The flu tends to come on quickly. It gives you a kind of all-over achiness caused by inflammation in your muscles, this also makes you feel very tired and fatigued.

With a cold, although it is common to feel unwell, symptoms usually stay in your nasal passages or your upper chest. Common cold symptoms include sore throat, runny nose, cough, and congestion.

Generally, with a cold there is no high fever. But with the flu, you may get a fever of 100.4° F or higher.

Common symptoms of the flu may include:




Vomiting and nausea with stomach flu

Sore Throat

Body aches




Runny Nose

How to Get a Tamiflu Prescription

The process of getting Tamiflu starts with getting a diagnosis and prescription from a doctor.

However, making a doctor’s appointment and taking the time off of work can be difficult, particularly if you are feeling unwell and don’t want to leave the house!

Thankfully, it is now possible to speak to a doctor online or over the phone to discuss your symptoms from the comfort of your own home, or even your office, and at a time that suits you.

Websites such as PlushCare offer easy access to healthcare.

A licensed physician will assess your symptoms and be able to prescribe a medication such as Tamiflu if you decide together that you will benefit from it.

To read more about how online doctor visits work, click here.

Read More About Getting Tamiflu Prescriptions Online

Article Sources

U.S. Food and Drug Administration. (2017). Tamiflu: Consumer Questions and Answers.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). (2018). Key Facts About Influenza (Flu).

Most PlushCare articles are reviewed by M.D.s, Ph.Ds, N.P.s, nutritionists and other healthcare professionals. Click here to learn more and meet some of the professionals behind our blog. The PlushCare blog, or any linked materials are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice, nor is the information a substitute for professional medical expertise or treatment. For more information click here.

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