Antivirals and cold and flu drugs

Antivirals and cold and flu drugs

Probably, there is not a single person who would never in his life have had colds, even in childhood. Therefore, there is no person who would not be concerned about the question of what to take for a cold.

Colds can have different names, but they are based on one reason – infection of various parts of the body and, in particular, the upper respiratory tract, pathogens. These microorganisms are divided into two main categories – bacteria and viruses.

Treatment of acute respiratory diseases can be both symptomatic, aimed at alleviating the manifestations of the disease, and etiological, aimed at eliminating the root cause of the disease. Fortunately, for the treatment of diseases caused by bacteria, antibacterial drugs or antibiotics have been used successfully for a long time. But in the case of diseases caused by another group of infectious agents – viruses, the situation is not so favorable. And there are several reasons for this.

Virus Respiratory Diseases

What diseases are acute respiratory infections caused by viruses? These include, above all, the flu and SARS.

The term ARVI (acute respiratory viral infection) refers to various infections caused by viruses other than influenza pathogens. These viruses include:

  • adenoviruses,
  • rhinoviruses,
  • parainfluenza viruses,
  • coronaviruses,
  • respiratory syncytial viruses.

Also, respiratory symptoms are characteristic of some other viral diseases:

  • measles,
  • rubella,
  • windmills,
  • whooping cough .

However, they are not usually attributed to viral respiratory diseases.

Symptoms of parainfluenza and acute respiratory viral infections

Symptoms of diseases caused by different types of viruses often differ little from each other. And it is usually possible to determine the type of the disease only by identifying the type of pathogen, which is not always easy.

Usually, ARVI is characterized by symptoms such as cough, runny nose, high fever (sometimes subfebrile, below + 38º C), sore throat, headaches, frequent sneezing. Sometimes signs of intoxication can join symptoms – nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.

Most experts are of the opinion that in the treatment of acute respiratory viral infections in people with normal immunity and an organism that is not weakened for some reason, no antiviral agents are needed. With the right approach to their treatment, these diseases disappear on their own, and do not cause any complications. Therefore, the treatment of these diseases is mainly symptomatic. The only exception is syncytial infection, which can be fatal in infants.

Treatment for diseases such as acute respiratory viral infections is reduced mainly to the observance of bed rest, the creation of normal conditions for recovery – the absence of drafts, hypothermia of the body. You must also drink plenty of fluids, always warm, for example, tea with lemon. Taking vitamins and antioxidants also helps in healing. For the treatment of rhinitis, anti-inflammatory or nose-cleansing drops can be used, for the treatment of the bronchi and throat – relieving inflammation inhalations based on herbal extracts. Good nutrition is also an important element of therapy.

Antivirals and cold and flu drugs
Photo: Nestor Rizhniak /

Influenza and its characteristic symptoms

Flu symptoms often differ from those of other viral respiratory diseases. However, this difference may not always appear. Often, in the case of high immunity or a weakened type of virus, the symptoms of influenza do not practically differ from the symptoms of ARVI. And, nevertheless, there are several basic signs that should be paid attention to.

First of all, for most varieties of influenza is characterized by a very high temperature, which can rise to the level of +39.5 – + 40ºС. The temperature usually rises to high levels in a short period of time. Thus, if the temperature is at first low-grade, and then, after a couple of days, it rises to high values, then this most likely means not having flu, but some kind of secondary infection such as pneumonia.

Also, with the flu there is such a characteristic symptom as implicit pain in the muscles of the body, especially in the limbs (aches). This symptom can be characteristic both for the early stage of the disease, appearing a few hours before the temperature rises, and for the period when the temperature has already increased. Respiratory symptoms of influenza are usually erased compared with ARVI. In most cases, the flu does not have a runny nose, but a strong cough may be present.

The flu, unlike ARVI, is dangerous for its complications affecting other organs – the heart, kidneys, lungs, and liver. A severe form of flu is very dangerous – toxic flu, which can cause death from intoxication of the body.

Influenza is usually transmitted by airborne droplets, from sick to healthy people. The influenza virus is sufficiently resistant to external influences and can persist for a long time in the external environment. The incubation period of the disease usually ranges from several hours to several days.

Experts believe that the flu most often occurs when the ambient air temperature fluctuates around –5ºС – + 5ºС. At such temperatures, the virus can persist for a long time. In addition, such a temperature regime contributes to the drying of the mucous membranes of the respiratory tract and makes them more susceptible to the virus.

There are several types of flu virus. And not all drugs can affect all these types. Flu treatment is mainly symptomatic. Antiviral drugs for flu are indicated in cases of severe illness, as well as in case of weakened immunity. It can be both etiotropic drugs, and drugs – immunity stimulants. Thanks to their use, it is often possible to shorten the duration of the disease and avoid possible serious complications.

How does a viral disease develop?

Unlike diseases caused by bacteria, viruses that have entered the body attack human cells directly. The virus is usually very simple. As a rule, it is a single DNA molecule, and sometimes a simpler RNA molecule containing genetic information. In addition, the virus also contains a shell of proteins. However, some types of viruses – viroids, may not have it either.

Viruses are able to integrate into the genetic apparatus of cells, and reconfigure it to release their own copies. Without the help of cells from other organisms, viruses cannot reproduce.

Features of the structure of viruses that cause SARS and flu

Most of the viruses in this group belong to the type of RNA viruses. The only exception is an adenovirus having a DNA molecule.

Influenza viruses are divided into three main serotypes – A, B, and C. Most often, the diseases are caused by the first two types. Type C virus causes disease only in people with weakened immune systems, children and the elderly. Epidemics of diseases caused by this type of virus do not exist, while epidemics caused by types A and B viruses occur very often – once every few years in a particular area.

The surface of the virus RNA molecule is coated with several protein molecules, among which neuraminidase should be distinguished. This enzyme facilitates the penetration of the virus into the cell and then ensures the release of new virus particles from it. Influenza viruses infect predominantly epithelial cells lining the surface of the upper respiratory tract.

Of course, the immune system is also not “sitting on its hands.” Immune cells, detecting the presence of strangers, produce special substances – interferons, which suppress the vital activity of viruses and prevent their penetration into the cells. In addition, special types of lymphocytes – T-killers and NK-lymphocytes destroy cells affected by viruses.

However, viral diseases, including those caused by influenza viruses, take many lives each year.

The characteristics of viruses are their increased ability to be modified. This leads to the fact that protein molecules on the surface of viruses can very quickly change their composition, and as a result, immune forces are far from always able to recognize them as an object that has already been encountered.

Therefore, scientists have long wanted to develop tools that would be active against various viruses. However, this task faces many difficulties. They consist, first of all, in the fact that viral particles are very small and are arranged extremely primitively even in comparison with bacteria. This means that they have very few vulnerabilities.

However, some antiviral agents have been developed. In particular, many of them are active against viruses that cause SARS and influenza.

Types of antiviral drugs

Antiviral drugs aimed directly at combating viruses can be divided into four main groups:

  • vaccines;
  • immunostimulants and interferon inductors;
  • preparations containing interferon;
  • Antiviral drugs of direct action (etiotropic).

There are many antiviral drugs belonging to different groups and the most effective drug among them is not easy to select.

Antiviral vaccines

Vaccination was invented in the late 18th century. Over time, it became widely used as a prophylactic to combat various diseases, including viral ones.

The essence of vaccination is to give the body’s immune system information in advance about the infectious agent. The fact is that immunity often recognizes the danger too late, when the infection already has time to spread throughout the body. And if the immunity is set up in advance to fight the right agent, he will immediately fight with him and neutralize him without any difficulty.

When a virus is vaccinated, a vaccine is injected into the blood – a substance that contains protein envelopes of viruses, or somehow weakened viruses. These components are unable to cause disease, but they are able to train immune cells to fight aliens. Thus, if real viruses get into the body, then, as a rule, they are very quickly neutralized. Vaccine immunity may persist for many years.

As for the flu, there are several types of viruses that cause this disease. There are vaccines for most of them.

Vaccines can be of several types. There are vaccines with live but weakened viruses. There are also vaccines containing inactivated components of viruses. Usually, a single vaccine contains material of several types of viruses, which is regularly updated in accordance with the mutations to which the substances that make up the shell of these infectious agents are exposed.

First of all, flu vaccine should be given to people in certain risk groups:

  • Age over 65 years;
  • Having respiratory diseases;
  • Receiving drugs that suppress immunity, cytostatics, corticosteroids;
  • Patients with diabetes;
  • Children;
  • Women in 2 and 3 trimesters of pregnancy.

Unlike the flu, there is currently no vaccine for the prevention of SARS.


A vaccine designed to protect the body from infection by influenza viruses. Contains proteins – hemagglutinin and neuraminidase, characteristic of two strains of influenza A (H3N2 and H1N1) and one strain of type B. Each component is contained in an amount of 15 mg per 0.5 ml.

Form release: suspension for injection, equipped with disposable syringes.

Indications: flu prevention.

Contraindications: a tendency to allergic reactions with injections, acute diseases.

Application: The vaccine can be administered subcutaneously or intramuscularly. The standard dose is 0.5 ml for adults and children over 6 years old, 0.25 ml for children under 6 years of age. People who have a weakened immune system or have not previously been vaccinated, the vaccine is administered twice with a break in a month, in other cases – once. The procedure is recommended in the fall.

Antiviral immunity enhancing drugs

Any virus that has penetrated the body, meets with its protective forces – immunity. Human immunity is divided into two types: specific and non-specific. Specific immunity is produced against a specific type of infectious agents, and non-specific has a universal effect and can be directed against any type of infection. Antiviral drugs based on immunity enhancement use its non-specific type.

Interferon Preparations

This class of antiviral agents contains interferons – special substances secreted by immune cells to fight viruses. Usually, interferon in such antiviral preparations is obtained artificially with the help of special bacteria. Interferon is attached to the cell walls and prevents the penetration of viruses into them. On the other hand, viruses are able to block the production of interferon from the cells, thereby facilitating their penetration into them. Thus, preparations containing interferon, are designed to compensate for the lack of natural interferon, observed during viral infections.

Information about the effectiveness of antiviral drugs of this class are contradictory. Many people claim that they helped them, although the results of clinical trials do not allow us to speak with confidence about these drugs as an effective remedy. In addition, they tend to have many side effects. Among them it is worth noting the high probability of allergic reactions.

The list of popular drugs of this type includes Grippferon, Alfaron, Interferon, Viferon, Kipferon.


The drug contains interferon type alpha 2b. In the synthesis of this substance, E. coli bacteria were used. The preparation also contains vitamins C and E. The drug can be used as an antiviral drug. It is active against pathogens of major respiratory infections, as well as hepatitis and herpes viruses.


The drug for the treatment of influenza and ARVI. The drug is available in the form of suppositories. Contains immunoglobulins and human leukocyte interferon. Fat and paraffin are used as additional components. The drug is active not only against viruses (viruses of SARS, influenza and hepatitis) but also against a number of bacterial infections, in particular, chlamydia.


It is produced as a solution for nasal use, contains human leukocyte interferon, has immunomodulating properties. Also included are some excipients. Intended mainly for the treatment of viral infections of the upper respiratory tract.


Immunomodulatory drug for the treatment of acute respiratory viral infections, is also active against influenza viruses. Contains human interferon alpha-2b. The therapeutic effect is due to the effect on the cells of the body, which become immune to the introduction of viral particles. Can be used to treat infants.

Form release: 5 and 10 ml bottles, equipped with a dropper.

Indications: flu and ARVI, treatment and prevention.

Contraindications: severe allergic diseases.

Use: The drug is buried in every nasal passage. Dosage for treatment:

  • up to a year – 1 drop 5 times a day;
  • 1-3 years – 2 drops 3-4 times a day;
  • 3-14 years old – 2 drops 4-5 times a day;
  • older than 14 years – 3 drops 5-6 times a day.

When preventing a disease (in case of contact with a patient or a high probability of infection), the dosage is the same as the dosage for treatment at an appropriate age, but the instillation is made only 2 times a day.

Antiviral immunostimulating agents

Unlike interferons, antiviral immunostimulating agents do not attack viruses directly, but stimulate the immune system to produce its own interferons. These are inexpensive, but quite effective means. The advantage of this type of drugs, compared with drugs containing interferon, is that they are much less likely to cause side effects in the form of allergic reactions. Examples of such drugs are Ingavir, Kagocel, Cycloferon, Lovemax, Tsitovir. Which of them is most effective for ARVI is difficult to say for sure. All of them are somewhat different in their action and contraindications, and to know which one to choose, it is best to seek the advice of a specialist.

The effectiveness of antiviral immunostimulating agents, judging by the reviews, is quite high. However, many people who are passionate about such means do not think about how often you can drink them. Doctors warn about the harm that can result from uncontrolled use of stimulants of immunity. The fact is that with the regular use of stimulants, there is a violation of the functioning of their own immunity. The body becomes accustomed to stimulation and is unable to respond independently to the infection, which can cause complications of infectious diseases. The second danger associated with stimulants of immunity is related to the fact that immune cells can begin to attack the tissues of their own body, which is the cause of autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, Sjogren’s syndrome, lupus erythematosus, and some others.


Contains bendazole, a substance that stimulates the formation of interferon. Other active substances are ascorbic acid and timogen, which increase the body’s resistance to infection. Available in three basic dosage forms – capsules, syrup and powder for solution preparation. It can be used as a medicine for flu and ARVI.


One of the best-selling drugs on the Russian market. Developed in the late 1980s. in Soviet Union. One of the main active ingredients obtained from cotton and is a copolymer gossypol. Another component is cellulose glycolic acid. The combination of these components leads to increased release of immune cells by interferon. It should be noted that pure gossypol is known as a drug that negatively affects male spermatogenesis. And although the developers claim that the substance in its pure form contains an insignificant amount in the preparation, this circumstance makes one on guard.


The drug stimulates the production of various types of interferons – leukocyte (alpha type), gamma, and fibroblast interferon. A powerful tool that is active against various viruses, including viruses that cause SARS, herpes and hepatitis. The drug was developed in the United States about half a century ago, but was soon banned there because of its side effects. In particular, it was found that the main component of the drug can cause damage to the retina. However, in the countries of the former USSR this drug is actively sold under various trademarks.


Currently, it is one of the most popular drugs on the market from the class of immunostimulants. The active substance is meglumine acridone acetate. The drug can be injected into the body parenterally, as well as taken in pill form. Judging by the reviews, the drug has a high effect. However, it is interesting to note that the main active ingredient was originally used in veterinary medicine. But already several years after the beginning of its use in this capacity, the drug was registered as a drug for the treatment of infectious diseases in humans. In this case, manufacturers recommend using the drug even for the treatment of children from 4 years.


Antiviral tablets belonging to the class of interferon inducer drugs. Stimulates the activity of the immune system against bacteria and viruses.

Form release: tablets containing the active substance (Kagocel) in a dosage of 12 mg, as well as calcium stearate, starch, lactose, povidone.

Indications: treatment and prevention of influenza, acute respiratory viral infections, acute respiratory infections, as well as herpes simplex.

Contraindications: pregnancy and lactation, age up to 3 years.

Side effects: allergic reactions are possible.

Application: 2 tablets 3 times a day in the first two days of the disease, in the next two days – 1 tablet 3 times a day. The course of treatment is 4 days. The drug is not associated with food intake.


One of the best drugs with immunomodulatory effects. Active against pathogens of influenza, parainfluenza and adenovirus. It also has anti-inflammatory effects, due to the suppression of cytokine synthesis. The active substance is imidazolyl ethanamide pentanediic acid.

Release form: capsules and tablets with a dosage of 30 and 90 mg.

Indications: prevention and treatment of influenza and SARS.

Contraindications: pregnancy, child age.

Use: The intake of the drug does not depend on the meal. In the treatment and prevention of viral infections, the dosage is 90 mg once a day. The course of treatment is 5 days.

Antiviral etiotropic drugs (drugs of direct action)

This type of medication acts directly on influenza viruses or ARVI. In this case, mechanisms can be used that hinder the replication of the virus, or its penetration into cells. Some drugs can also have a moderate stimulating effect on the immune system.


These are first-generation etiotropic antiviral drugs, otherwise called M2 channel blockers. The mechanism of their action is based on the disruption of certain enzymes that ensure reproduction of the virus in the cell. The main drugs of the class are deutiforin, amantadine, midantan, and rimantadine. Amantadines are effective against some other types of viruses, such as adenoviruses and herpes viruses.


One of the first representatives of the group of direct-acting antiviral drugs. During his appearance (early 1960s), he seemed to be a breakthrough in the fight against influenza. The drug has been shown to be effective in many clinical trials.

The drug was developed in the United States, but in the Soviet Union, the pharmaceutical industry also quickly established the release of this tool. With his help, it was possible to significantly reduce the time spent on treating patients with influenza, which resulted in significant savings in the scale of the Soviet economy.

However, it soon became clear that influenza viruses quickly developed resistance to this drug and mutated in such a way that they became almost invulnerable to it. Recent studies show that more than 90% of influenza viruses are resistant to rimantadine, which makes it practically useless for treating this disease.

In addition, the drug was initially active only against influenza A virus and did not affect type B viruses. Thus, rimantadine in terms of treatment of influenza today is more of historical interest. However, this medicine cannot be called completely useless, since it turned out that it is effective against tick-borne encephalitis virus.

Rimantadine is available in two basic dosage forms – 50 mg tablets and syrup. The standard duration of treatment is 5 days, under certain conditions this time can be extended up to two weeks.

Neuramidase Inhibitors

These are more modern and effective antiviral drugs of direct action. Their antiviral mechanism is based on the blocking of the enzyme, due to which the virus leaves the infected cell and also penetrates healthy cells. Since the virus cannot enter the cell, it is easily destroyed by the body’s immune forces. Today, drugs of this group are most often used among direct-acting etiotropic drugs intended to fight the flu.

The main representatives of the class are oseltamivir, sold under the brand name Tamiflu and the drug Relenza (zanamivir). There is also a new generation of drugs – Peramivir (Rapivab), which showed high efficacy in uncomplicated influenza. This drug is intended primarily for parenteral administration.

However, it is worth noting that the drugs in this group have several disadvantages. In the case of mild, uncomplicated flu, their effectiveness is usually relatively low, but the number of side effects is quite large. Neuramidiase inhibitors are also quite toxic. The frequency of side effects when they are received is 1.5%. Medicines with caution prescribed to patients with a tendency to bronchospasm. In addition, they can not be attributed to cheap drugs.


This drug was developed in the United States in the late 1980s. Originally it was planned to use it in the fight against the AIDS virus, but then it turned out that oseltamivir is not dangerous for this virus. However, instead, it was found that the drug is active against influenza A and B pathogens. The drug is most effective in severe forms of influenza due to its ability to suppress the formation of cytokines and prevent inflammation and excessive immune response in the form of a cytokine storm. To date, this tool, perhaps, tops the efficiency rating among other etiotropic drugs.

Antivirals and cold and flu drugs
Photo: Stuart Monk /

When choosing a dosage, you should consider the patient’s condition, the nature of the disease, the presence of chronic diseases. The standard duration of treatment is 5 days, dosage 75-150 mg.

However, it is worth noting that the drug does not act against ARVI pathogens. In addition, overdose of the drug and its uncontrolled use, including for preventive purposes, can lead to very serious health consequences, such as mental disorders.


Like Tamiflu, it belongs to the group of neuramidase inhibitors. It is an effective antiviral drug, a structural analogue of sialic acid. Unlike oseltamivir, this flu medicine is not available in pills, but in special blisters designed for use in an inhaler – a dischaler. This method allows you to deliver the drug directly into the viral airways and ensure the most effective effect of the drug on the infectious agent.


Etiotropic antiviral agent. Active against influenza A and B pathogens. The active ingredient is zanamivir, a neuramidase inhibitor.

Form release: powder for inhalation, as well as a special device for inhalation – dischaler. One dose contains 5 mg of active ingredient.

Indications: treatment and prevention of type A and B viruses in adults and children.

Contraindications: the drug is used with caution in patients prone to bronchospasm.

Use: For inhalation, use diskhaler. Blisters with the drug are inserted into a special disk on the disk drive. Then the blister is punctured, after which the drug can be inhaled through the mouthpiece.

It is recommended to take two inhalations at a time. This procedure is performed twice a day, so the total recommended dosage is 4 sachets (20 mg). For children, dose adjustment is not required.


Etiotropic antiviral drug. Designed to destroy influenza viruses types A and B. Active ingredient – oseltamivir.

Release form: Gelatin capsules with a dosage of 30, 45 and 75 mg, as well as powder for suspension in 30 g bottles.

Indications: prevention and treatment of influenza. The drug is recommended to use from the age of 1 year. In some cases (in case of pandemics of the disease), children from 6 months are allowed.

Contraindications: age up to 6 months, chronic renal failure, low creatinine clearance (less than 10 ml / min).

Side effects: headaches, insomnia, cramps, dizziness, weakness, cough, nausea.

Use: It is better to take the drug with meals, although it is not a strict recommendation. Children from 13 years and adults are prescribed 75 mg 2 times a day. The course of treatment is 5 days. Daily dosage for children up to 12 years depends on body weight:

  • More than 40 kg – 150 mg;
  • 23-40 kg – 120 mg;
  • 15-23 kg – 90 mg;
  • less than 15 kg – 60 mg.

The daily dose must be divided into two doses.


Domestic drug, which was developed in the 1980s. The active substance is umifenovir. Unlike neuraminidase inhibitors, umifenovir acts to inhibit another viral protein, hemagglutinin. However, this method also prevents the penetration of the virus into the cells. In addition, the drug is able to provide a moderate stimulation of the immune forces of the body. Arbidol can also be treated not only for the flu, but also for ARVI. Belarus produces a structural analogue of this drug – Arpetol.

Reviews of the drug are mostly positive. However, it can not but alarm the fact that the only serious study of the effectiveness of the drug was sponsored by its manufacturer, Pharmstandard. Therefore, to date, Arbidol cannot be unambiguously attributed to drugs with proven efficacy.


Antiviral drug. The active ingredient is umifenovir. Combines etiotropic action and stimulation of immunity. Active against influenza A and B pathogens, coronaviruses that cause severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS).

Release form: Capsules containing 50 mg of umifenovir.

Indications: Prevention and treatment of influenza, SARS, SARS.

Contraindications: age up to 3 years, individual intolerance to the components of the drug.

Side effects: allergic reactions

Use: The drug is taken before meals.

Dosage depends on age:

  • Adults and children over 12 years old – 200 mg;
  • 6-12 years old – 100 mg;
  • 3-6 years old – 50 mg.

When preventing influenza and ARVI during epidemics, the indicated doses are taken 2 times a week. The maximum duration of a course of prophylaxis is a week. In the treatment of influenza and acute respiratory viral infections these doses are taken 4 times a day. The course of treatment is 5 days.


This drug is not designed to fight flu viruses, but to fight other viruses, such as rhinosyncytial virus. Most often this infection occurs in children, in whom it occurs in a complex form. However, it can also be used as an anti-influenza agent, albeit with a smaller effect. In addition, the drug can be used in the treatment of herpes. With ARVI, the drug is injected into the inflammation through inhalation. Other drug names are Virazole and Ribavirin. The drug is contraindicated in pregnancy.


Etiotropic drug used in the treatment of one form of ARVI – an infection caused by a respiratory syncytial virus. Used by inhalation. This procedure can be performed only in the hospital.

Form release: Powder for inhalation.

Indications: respiratory syncytial infection in children (as part of complex therapy).

Use: For the preparation of inhalation solution, 6 g of powder is taken and diluted in 100 ml of water for injection. Then in the inhaler, this solution is diluted with another 300 ml of water. Inhalations are held for 12-18 hours daily for 3-7 days.

Symptomatic drugs

Contrary to popular belief, these drugs are not antiviral. They are intended only to relieve the unpleasant symptoms of influenza and ARVI – pain and temperature. However, this does not negate the fact that symptomatic medications are a good remedy for colds. They usually contain anti-inflammatory, analgesic and anti-inflammatory drugs – paracetamol, acetylsalicylic acid, ibuprofen, sometimes antioxidants – ascorbic acid, less often – antihistamines and vasoconstrictor drugs, such as phenylephrinephrine. Thus, they have no effect on influenza viruses or ARVI. Although the names of many of these drugs can mislead an innocent person. For example, the symptomatic drug Teraflu can be confused with the etiotropic drug Tamiflu.

There are also combined drugs, including etiotropic and symptomatic agents – for example, Anvivir containing rimantadine and paracetamol.

It should be noted that the simultaneous appointment of interferon inducers and antipyretics, which some doctors practice, does not make much sense. Indeed, when the temperature rises, on the contrary, there is an increase in the production of interferon, and an artificial decrease in temperature reduces this process to nothing.

Homeopathic Remedies

It is worth noting this type of drugs, as homeopathic remedies for the treatment of viral diseases of the upper respiratory tract. There are fierce debates around homeopathy, and she has both supporters and opponents. However, it is indisputable that almost all homeopathic preparations do not directly affect viruses, and therefore it is very difficult to attribute them to antivirals. For example, such a popular French drug against influenza, like Oscillococcinum, contains the components of the musk duck liver as an active ingredient. In this case, it is not at all clear on what basis this component was classified as an effective remedy for flu and cold. Nevertheless, the drug is actively sold and enjoys traditional popularity in many countries. Needless to say, this kind of drugs are an obvious example of the use of self-hypnosis effect (placebo effect) by people with dexterous businessmen.

Antiviral drugs for influenza and ARVI – benefit or harm?

In our country, the number of respiratory diseases is especially high, given the cold climate, long winter and off-season. All this creates demand for drugs for colds and flu. Of course, pharmaceutical manufacturers cannot ignore such a potentially huge market. And they fill it with drugs of sometimes dubious quality and dubious efficacy, promoting them with the help of aggressive advertising, which asserts that the best preparation for today is precisely this means and no other. Currently, a person who has come to the pharmacy, as a rule, has no difficulty in choosing antiviral drugs. There are a lot of them, for every taste, and among them there are a lot of drugs available at a price. But, as you know, free cheese is only in a mousetrap.

As shown above, there are no ideal antiviral drugs. Interferon preparations have many side effects, and of this kind, which may appear after a long time. Nowadays, more and more information is accumulating that their regular use increases the risk of autoimmune diseases, lupus erythematosus, sjogren’s syndrome, psoriasis, insulin-dependent diabetes and even oncological diseases. Particular care should be taken by those patients who have relatives suffering from autoimmune diseases. Also, with caution, preparations of this type should be used in the treatment of children.

Preparations with interferon, in addition, can cause severe allergic reactions. In addition, their effectiveness is very doubtful. In principle, the same can be said about antiviral immunostimulants. It is worth noting that in most Western countries such drugs are practically not used. The concept of treatment of respiratory diseases common there recognizes only etiotropic or symptomatic treatment, and antiviral immunomodulators are prescribed to patients only in exceptional cases.

As for the etiotropic drugs, they also can not be called the ideal choice. Although they have a much greater evidence base, however, their effectiveness is often greatly exaggerated due to advertising from manufacturers. In addition, such old drugs as rimantadine, have already managed to lose a significant share of effectiveness due to the formation of a huge number of resistant strains of viruses.

Neuramidase inhibitors appear to be most effective. However, they have a high toxicity and limited spectrum of action, covering only influenza viruses. Consequently, given that they are most effective in the first days of the onset of the disease, they can be used only when there is full confidence that the disease is caused by the influenza virus, and not by something else. And is it necessary to say that at the onset of the disease it is usually not possible to determine the type of pathogen. Otherwise, the use of these drugs will be just a waste of money. By the way, this type of drugs can not be called cheap.

The only way to fight viral infections with antiviral drugs that have the least side effects is vaccination. However, it can not be considered a panacea. It has some limitations, because there are so many strains of influenza and it’s absolutely impossible to come up with a vaccine that would be effective against all. To some extent, however, this is offset by the fact that the biological material contained in vaccines is constantly updated.

Therefore, you should consider whether it is worth using this type of treatment, which can bring more problems than the disease itself. It should be noted that most people underestimate the power of their own immunity. Compliance with simple rules – bed rest, abundant warm drink, taking vitamins and proper diet in most cases put a person on his feet for about the same time as treatment with new-fashioned antiviral drugs. Their use can still be justified in case of influenza with high fever, but the use of the same immunomodulators in the treatment of SARS is not recommended at all.

Also, do not abuse the use of symptomatic agents. After all, the same heat is a protective reaction of the body against the invasion of viruses and bacteria. At high temperatures, the production of interferons increases, making the cells of the body immune to viral infection. By lowering the temperature artificially, we actually forbid the body to fight infection. Therefore, do not churn the temperature, at least, if it does not exceed the critical level of + 39º degrees.

The situation is complicated by the peculiarities of our mentality. It is no secret that many people, faced with acute respiratory infections and influenza, tend not to recover, but just quickly return to their normal lives, go to work, etc. This not only leads to the fact that all the people around are infected, but also to the fact that as a result, the person does not cure the disease, which becomes chronic. A cold suffered on the feet has a far more harmful effect on the body than refusing to take antiviral drugs.

However, most people understand that this behavior is not correct, but it resorts to another, seemingly more correct, means – swallows antivirals in batches. And at the same time, it seems to be really recovering, but at the same time destroying his body. Meanwhile, it is worth thinking that health is much more expensive than a couple of extra days spent on sick leave.

Of course, these tips are suitable for people with a healthy immunity. However, not everyone can boast of it. Now there are many people whose immunity is weakened. They have the disease may be delayed, which ultimately threatens with various complications. In this case, taking antiviral pills is justified. However, the fact of the presence of weakened immunity should be established not on the basis of individual sensations – I have a runny nose every month, which means that I need to buy drugs with interferons or immunomodulators, but on the basis of careful research on the state of the immune system. Careful should be the selection of antiviral drugs. Which of them is best suited in a particular case, should tell the doctor. To use the drug should be in accordance with its recommendations and instructions.

And, of course, treatment with these drugs should not be perceived as natural. Once cured with antiviral drugs, you should not rely on the fact that the next time miraculous drugs will help get rid of the disease. Should take measures to strengthen the immune system. There are many natural ways to do this – hardening, regular walks in the fresh air, proper nutrition and daily routine, proper rest, physical training and sports.

Also, we should not ignore measures aimed at preventing diseases. It should be borne in mind that influenza viruses and ARVI are sufficiently resistant to adverse factors and can exist in the external environment for a long time. Therefore, it is necessary to regularly carry out hygiene procedures, especially in the period of increased incidence – wash hands after coming from the street, rinse your mouth regularly and rinse the nasal cavity, avoid contact with patients with respiratory diseases. Chronic diseases should also be treated promptly, since it is well known that viruses multiply most intensively in the body, weakened by the fight against chronic diseases. And, of course, it is worth getting rid of bad habits. Indeed, it is well known that smoking significantly weakens the immune forces of the tissues of the upper respiratory tract, which leads to increased vulnerability to infectious diseases, including viral ones.

It is also necessary to bear in mind that it is necessary to start antiviral drug therapy as early as possible, at the first signs of the disease. Otherwise, treatment will not be effective.

Also, before starting treatment with antiviral drugs, you should make sure that the respiratory disease is actually caused by viruses, not bacteria. Otherwise, antiviral therapy will be completely useless.

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