The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the United States has given approval for Tamiflu to be used for children but at a lower dose than the adult version.
The new child version of the drug also has a shelf life of approximately five years and comes in the form of a capsule in 30 mg and 45 mg doses.
The standard liquid suspension formula has a shelf life of two years.
Tamiflu is manufactured by Swiss drugmaker Roche and is being stockpiled by many governments as a first line of defence in the event of a bird flu pandemic.
Tamiflu (oseltamivir phosphate) also provides an alternative for the treatment and prevention of influenza types A and B in patients one year and older.
The longer shelf-life-capsules are more convenient and will be available in pharmacies nationwide and for government stockpiling for the 2007-2008 flu season.
Roche says the lower dose capsules provides governments with a new option for pandemic stockpiling and also gives doctors an alternative for patients who prefer a capsule.
Roche has already received orders for Tamiflu totaling 215 million treatment courses from more than 75 countries and has also donated 5.1 million doses of Tamiflu to the World Health Organization to help contain any initial pandemic outbreak.
The company has also completed orders from the U.S. government and states for 43.7 million Tamiflu treatment courses to date.
Tamiflu is the only neuraminidase inhibitor approved for use in children one to five years of age; it will continue to be available in a 75 mg capsule for adults as well as a liquid suspension formula for children.