What is Tamiflu?
Tamiflu or oseltamivir phosphate is a prescription medicine for treatment of influenza infection (flu) for adolescents, adults, and children over one year old. The drug is administered in patients who showed flu symptoms within a day or two. Tamiflu may also be used as treatment and prevention of Avian influenza or bird flu.
Tamiflu is made by Roche Laboratories, Inc., and was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on October 27, 1999.
The FDA and Roche Laboratories issued a notification on November 13, 2006 to healthcare professionals, regarding revisions on the prescribing information of Tamiflu, specifically on the PRECAUTIONS/Neuropsychiatric Events and Patient Information sections. The changes were made to indicate the news reports regarding self-injury and delirium that may be associated with the use of Tamiflu in patients, mostly from Japan, with influenza.
Those who take Tamiflu for their flu, especially children, have a risk of inflicting injury to themselves immediately after taking the drug. Therefore, it is recommended that these patients should be monitored closely to detect signs of unusual behaviour. Contact your doctor as soon as possible if the patient shows such signs. Find out more about this from the FDA.
Special Warnings Concerning Tamiflu
The safety and effectiveness of Tamiflu have not yet been assessed in people with chronic heart or lung disease, kidney failure, or in people with underlying high-risk medical conditions.
General Precautions with Tamiflu
There are other kinds of infections with symptoms similar to influenza, and others may occur along with influenza. If your condition does not improve or gets worse, contact your doctor as soon as possible.
Tamiflu is not a replacement for flu vaccine. Vaccines are for prevention, and Tamiflu is for treatment. Therefore it is advisable to get your annual flu shot as recommended by your doctor.
Maintain good personal hygiene, such as washing your hands and avoiding sharing of eating utensils and drinking cups, to avoid spreading or contracting the virus.
What Should I Tell My Healthcare Professional?
Let your doctor know if you:
- Are allergic to Tamiflu, to any of its ingredients in its liquid form, or to any other medications
- Are immunocompromised (have HIV or AIDS)
- Are pregnant, trying to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding
- Are taking immunosuppressant medications such as azathioprine (lmuran), cyclosporine (Neoral, Sandimmune), cancer chemotherapy medications, methotrexate (Rheumatrex), sirolimus (Rapamune), oral steroids, or tacrolimus (Prograf)
- Have any type of heart, lung, or kidney disease
- Have ever taken Tamiflu to treat or prevent the flu
- Take or plan to take any other prescription and/or nonprescription medications, including vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products
Tamiflu – Side Effects
There may be some side effects associated with Tamiflu. Let your doctor know if you experience the following symptoms:
- Difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep
- Stomach pain
If you experience the following side effects, it may be a sign of something more serious so go to your doctor as soon as possible:
- Difficulty breathing or swallowing
- Rash, hives, or blisters on the skin
- Swelling of the face or tongue
Tamiflu – Getting Legal Help
Even if most medicines are expected to have side effects, it is the duty of the manufacturer of these medicines to inform the medical community and the public of known risks associated with the drugs they produce. Failure to give adequate warning to the public and the medical community of the dangers of the drug makes the manufacturer liable under product liability for any injury that may be caused by their product.
If you or your loved one has suffered any of the dangerous symptoms or unusual reaction after taking Tamiflu, go to your doctor or the hospital as soon as possible. You may also consider consulting with an experienced attorney in order to get more information regarding your rights and possible remedies for the injuries you suffered because of the use of Tamiflu.