7 best antivirals

Review of the best according to the editorial board. On the selection criteria. This material is subjective and does not constitute advertising and does not serve as a purchase guide. Before buying, you need to consult with a specialist.

Antivirals are a large group of drugs. It includes both prescription drugs with severe side effects, which are used to treat hepatitis or HIV infection, and homeopathic 'drugs', which are advertised as effective treatments for influenza, but in reality are nothing more than placebos. Therefore, in order not to lead anyone into the temptation to treat serious illnesses with the help of advice from the Internet, we will make a reservation right away: the rating will talk about antiviral drugs. intended for the treatment of acute respiratory viral infections (that is, colds) and flu.

Caveat number two – there will be no homeopathic remedies in our review. The rating of the best drugs is not a place for pseudo-scientific discussions, so just recall that the Russian Academy of Sciences has recognized homeopathy as a pseudoscience, and the World Health Organization warns against using homeopathy for infectious diseases, which include colds.

Some of the effective medicines are available in pharmacies with a prescription and must be taken under medical supervision. Speaking of such products, we will mention that they are prescription drugs.

Please do not take this rating as a comprehensive guide to treating colds and flu. Recommendations for the treatment of the disease should be given by a doctor; we only inform our readers about the available possibilities.

How to tell a cold from the flu

The usual seasonal ARVI is, as they say, an everyday matter: doctors believe that a healthy child with normal immunity can tolerate up to 6 colds a year, and an adult – up to 4. Whereas flu is a serious disease fraught with complications, the most dangerous of which is viral pneumonia and respiratory failure. And if with ARVI you can postpone a visit to the doctor for 2 – 3 days, however, colleagues and fellow travelers in public transport are unlikely to thank you for this, then if you suspect influenza, you need to contact a specialist as soon as possible.

We bring to your attention a table that allows you to guess what you are dealing with this time.




Onset of the disease

Abrupt, sudden, it is often possible to name the time of the disease with accuracy. until an hour

The condition worsens gradually, the disease begins with a general malaise.


Usually well above 38

Usually 37.1 – 37.9

Runny nose

Absent in the early days

Usually appears at the very beginning of the disease


From the first days, dry, painful, accompanied by severe pain behind the breastbone

Depends on the specific virus, but usually appears on days 2 – 3

Bone aches, muscle pain

Usually present, caused by severe intoxication

Usually no

Photophobia, lacrimation, pain when moving the eyeballs




Winter, usually against the backdrop of an already announced flu epidemic

All the year round – you can catch a cold under the air conditioner, 'get a swim' and so on

Some of the drugs mentioned below in the rating are effective exclusively against influenza, we have put these in a separate group.

Note! Any antiviral medications are only effective if taken within the first 48 hours of the onset of cold symptoms.

Whenever possible, we tried to indicate the name of the active substance (international name of the drug), and only after it – trade (brand) names, so that our readers could choose between analogues, based on their own economic capabilities.

Rating of the best antiviral agents

Nomination a place Name of product price
Best Antivirals for Kids 1 Umifenovir 144 RUB
2 Viferon 384 r
3 Kagocel 223 r
Best Antivirals for Adults 1 Tiloron 486 r
2 Ingavirin 382 r
The best flu remedies 1 Zanamivir 905 RUB
2 Oseltamivir RUB 1,020
What to do with colds and flu: first aid without medication

Best Antivirals for Kids

As far as antiviral drugs for children are concerned, the situation is paradoxical: they get sick much more often than adults, and there are practically no effective drugs for babies under two years old (we repeat, we are not talking about homeopathy). This is partly due to the fact that such small children need a special form of release: they can choke on a pill, and the spray can provoke laryngospasm (croup). In any case, if a child under two years of age falls ill with a cold or flu, do not self-medicate, consult a doctor!


Rating: 4.9


Trade names: Arbidol, Arpeflu, Orvitol, Aflyudol

Arbidol has a rather controversial reputation – at the dawn of its appearance, there was not enough evidence of effectiveness, and rumors about the administrative resource used for promotion did not contribute to a positive attitude from specialists. But in recent years, the number of studies carried out has been growing, and doctors are interested in the drug not only in the post-Soviet space, but also experts from other countries (China, USA). The collected statistics confirm the effectiveness of umifenovir against influenza viruses, pathogens of seasonal colds and enteroviruses ('intestinal flu', manifested by a runny nose and fever combined with diarrhea and abdominal pain).

The drug blocks a special molecule in the envelope of the virus called hemagglutinin. It is this molecule that 'drags' the virus through the membranes into the cells of the body. The virus itself, unlike bacteria, is not capable of multiplying, for this it needs to get into a living cell and insert its genes so that the cell begins to produce viral particles. Until this happens, there is no infection.

According to research data, umifenovir helps to reduce the duration of the disease by 1.7 – 2.65 days, and 4 times reduces the likelihood of complications.

You can take umifenovir from the age of two; for babies of this age, the antiviral drug Arbidol in powder for preparing a suspension. For other ages, 50 mg tablets, 100 mg and 200 mg capsules are provided. You need to take the remedy 4 times a day:

  1. from 2 to 6 years – 50 mg (or 10 ml of suspension);
  2. from 6 to 12 years old – 100 mg;
  3. over 12 years old and adults – 200 mg.

Here is a table that can tell you what dosage to choose for treating a child or an adult:

Release form, dosage

Children 2 – 6 years old

Children 6 – 12 years old

Above 12 and adults

Arbidol powder for suspension preparation


Can be taken but too expensive compared to other dosages

Can be taken but too expensive compared to other dosages

Arbidol tablets 50 mg (from 3 years old)


(two tablets per dose)

Can be taken but too expensive compared to other dosages

Arbidol capsules 100 mg

– – –


(two tablets per dose)

Arbidol Maximum 200 mg.

– – –

– – –


Antiviral drug is contraindicated during pregnancy and with known intolerance.

Possible allergic reactions from undesirable phenomena.


  • a wide range of antiviral action,
  • minimum of contraindications,
  • no side effects.


  • can not be used in children under two years of age.


Rating: 4.6


This product contains human interferon, which has both direct antiviral properties and the ability to stimulate immunity. An antiviral drug is dispensed with a doctor's prescription.

Viferon can be used from birth, for the treatment of colds and flu – one suppository every 12 hours.

For babies from birth to 7 years old, Viferon is used at a dosage of 150,000 IU. Suppositories of 500,000 IU are recommended for children over 7 years of age and adults.

The antiviral drug can be used during pregnancy and breastfeeding.

Allergic reactions are possible from undesirable phenomena. Contraindicated in cases of known intolerance.


  • can be used from birth,
  • minimum side effects.


  • since when using suppositories, there is no question of the direct antiviral effect of interferon (after all, the flu affects the mucous membrane of the respiratory tract, not the rectum), the effectiveness of the drug will depend on the response of the immune system, which is individual in each case.


Rating: 4.3


Kagocel does not have a direct antiviral effect, but promotes the production of interferons, which, in turn, stimulate the immune response. It can be used to treat influenza and other acute viral respiratory infections in children as young as 3 years of age.

The product is available in tablets of 12 mg.

The duration of the course of treatment is 4 days, the dosage regimen depends on the age and day of the disease:

  1. children from 3 to 6 years old: in the first 2 days, take a tablet twice a day, the next 2 days – once a day, a full course of 6 tablets;
  2. children from 6 years old: in the first 2 days, take a tablet three times a day, the next 2 days – twice a day, a full course of 10 tablets,
  3. adults: in the first 2 days, 2 tablets three times a day, the next 2 days – one tablet three times a day. A total of 18 tablets for the course of treatment.

Of the possible side effects, allergic reactions are noted.

Antiviral agent is contraindicated in children under 3 years old, pregnant and lactating.


  • the minimum range of side effects.


  • complex application scheme,
  • there is no direct antiviral effect, the effectiveness depends on the state of the immune system.

Best Antivirals for Adults

We have included in this section antiviral drugs that can be used not only in adults, but also in school-aged children. Such children can already be given the same dosage forms (tablets, capsules) as adults, only the dosage of the medicine differs.


Rating: 4.5


Trade names: Amiksin, Lavomax.

This is another interferon inducer – a substance that does not act directly on viruses, but stimulates the immune response. Nevertheless, it is prescribed precisely as an antiviral.

Available in 60 mg tablets for children and 125 mg for adults (from 18 years old).

Note! Lavomax is available only in 125 mg tablets and is approved for use from the age of 18.

The antiviral drug is taken once a day, on the 1st, 2nd and 4th days of treatment.

Of the side effects, dyspepsia (abdominal pain, nausea, stool disturbance), transient chills were noted. Allergic reactions are possible.

Tiloron is contraindicated in pregnancy and lactation.


  • taken once a day.


  • no direct antiviral action.


Rating: 4.4


The antiviral agent acts in several directions: on the one hand, it stimulates the production of special proteins in infected cells that inhibit the multiplication of the virus. On the other hand, it increases the sensitivity of cells affected by the virus to the effects of interferons. The tool has a weak anti-inflammatory effect.

According to research results, it helps to reduce the duration of the disease by an average of 1 day.

Available in 60 mg capsules for children from 7 years of age and 90 mg for adults. Take 1 capsule daily for 5 to 7 days.

Allergic reactions are possible from undesirable phenomena.

The use of the drug during pregnancy and lactation is not prohibited directly in the instructions, but it is noted that the safety of its use during these periods has not been studied. Obviously, doing an experiment in this state is not a very smart idea.


  • no contraindications
  • convenient use – once a day.


  • relatively long course of admission.

The best flu remedies

This section of our ranking contains drugs that WHO recommends for the treatment of influenza. At the same time, they are ineffective against ARVI and therefore it is pointless to use them for ordinary seasonal colds. Both drugs are prescription, that is, they must be prescribed by a doctor. Their use during pregnancy and breastfeeding is not formally prohibited, but since no one has conducted safety studies in humans for obvious reasons, all possible risks remain at the discretion of the doctor who prescribed the drug and the patient herself.


Rating: 4.8


Trade names: Relenza.

The tool blocks a special substance on the envelope of the virus – neuraminidase. It is an enzyme that destroys the receptors for the virus on the cells of the host organism, allowing the virus to penetrate the cell membranes. By blocking neuraminidase, oseltamivir inhibits not only the spread, but also the multiplication of the virus, because no virus is able to reproduce on its own.

Zanamivir reduces the duration of illness by an average of 1.5 days and reduces the likelihood of complications by about a third. In addition, it reduces the release of the virus into the environment, which means that relatives of a patient taking zanamivir are less likely to become infected.

It is produced in the form for inhalation: the bottle contains 5 rotadisks with the drug, which must be inserted into a special device – dischaller, which comes with the drug. One rotadisk is enough for 4 inhalations.

The antiviral agent Zanamivir can be used to treat children from 5 years of age. The method of administration and doses are the same for all ages: 2 inhalations 2 times a day for 5 days. That is, one package is designed just for the course of treatment.

Do not take the drug for people with a known intolerance to zanamivir. Carefully use the remedy for people prone to bronchospasm (children who have already suffered croup, adults and children with bronchial asthma).

Do not try to put the drug in the nebulizer contrary to the instructions – the lactose contained in the composition can damage the device.

The product is sold by prescription.


  • produced in the form of inhalation: it is practically not absorbed into the blood and does not affect internal organs,
  • ease of use.


  • can provoke bronchospasm in people with an individual predisposition.


Rating: 4.7


Trade names: Tamiflu, Nomides, Oseltamivir phosphate

The mechanism of action is the same as that of the previous drug. It helps to reduce the duration of the disease by an average of 2 days. It can be used to treat influenza in both adults and children over 1 year old.

For babies from one to 8 years old, it is better to use a suspension for preparing a solution. You need to use it twice a day, and the amount will depend on the weight of the child:

  1. <15 kg – 30 mg,
  2. > 15 – 23 kg – 45 mg,
  3. > 23 – 40 kg – 60 mg.

To measure the required amount, a syringe is included in the suspension preparation kit, which has marks corresponding to 30, 45 and 60 mg of the active substance.

Children over 8 years old, if they weigh more than 40 kg, can be given 75 mg capsules, otherwise it is better to use a suspension.

Teens over 12 years of age and adults are advised to take oseltamivir 75 mg 2 times a day.

Possible side effects: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, dizziness,

The drug is contraindicated in renal failure and individual intolerance to the active substance.

The product is sold by prescription.


  • proven effective against influenza virus,
  • can be used in children from a year.


  • high price.

All antiviral agents mentioned in the rating can be used both for treatment and for the prevention of colds. We deliberately did not indicate the dosages recommended in such cases, as this would turn an already voluminous review into an endless one. You can clarify all the necessary information by referring to the instructions for the use of medicines.

What to do with colds and flu: first aid without medication

  1. Before you run to the pharmacy, put the sick person to bed. Take away gadgets, computer and TV: let sleep at least the first few days. You can listen to music.
  2. If possible, give the sick person a separate room. Open the vents: a constant flow of cool air will reduce the concentration of the virus in the room. Of course, the patient and everyone else in the room should be dressed according to the temperature, which ideally should not be higher than 16-18 degrees.
  3. If your home has a humidifier, turn it on. If not, hang the batteries with wet terry towels and change them as they dry. In winter, the air is too dry, and this is bad for the protective functions of the mucous membranes. Immunoglobulins, interferons and other substances that our body secretes to fight viruses work only in a humid environment. Actually, therefore, the mucous membranes are covered with mucus, and when they dry out, it is impossible to effectively fight the disease.
  4. Place at least two liters of any drink (except alcoholic, of course) next to the patient so that he can drink any time he wants. Drinking plenty of fluids helps flush toxins from the body. This can help relieve headaches and muscle aches.
  5. If the patient has cold hands and feet, put on socks (mittens are also possible), cover with a blanket. If he is hot, do not try to wrap up on purpose, on the contrary, let him undress to a comfortable level. Wipe it off with cool water (just water, no vodka or vinegar). This will help bring down the temperature faster.
  6. Western doctors recommend bringing down the temperature not only by rubbing with cool water, but also by placing the patient for a short time (up to 10 minutes) in a cool bath. Our compatriots believe this is an overly radical method.
  7. If a patient suffers from a dry cough, do not force him to breathe over potatoes, this is not only fraught with burns, but also helps the infection spread through the respiratory tract. Let boiling water in the bathroom, closing the doors, wait 5 – 15 minutes until the room is filled with steam, and run the patient into it (not into boiling water, but into the room!). But it is easier to give a nebulizer with plain water or alkaline (hydrocarbonate) mineral water, from which the bubbles were previously released.
  8. If the patient is a child and he categorically refuses to eat, do not force. Make up when he recovers. While let him drink milk (just not hot and without soda), yoghurts, juices.
  9. If on day 2 – 3 the patient does not get better, and the doctor has not yet been consulted – do it immediately!

Attention! This rating is subjective and does not constitute an advertisement and does not serve as a purchase guide. Before buying, you need to consult with a specialist.

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