News on Wellness

The Effectiveness of Tamiflu and Relenza, Drugs for Flu Are Being Questioned

Tamiflu and Relenza

Influenza in adults and children are being treated with Neuraminidase inhibitors. Tamiflu and Relenza is the popular drug of choice. A recent study conducted by the nonprofit organization, The Cochrane Collaboration has questioned the effectiveness of the drugs to reduce hospitalizations or further spread. The finding of which is published in The BMJ, British Medical Journal.

Tamiflu and Relenza

The study based on 20 trails on Tamiflu and 26 trails on Relenza admits the fact that drugs are necessary to treat the symptoms, however the effectiveness to handle complications in case of an endemic are unsure. The antiviral drug oseltamivir, Tamiflu, shortens the symptoms of influenza by a day however the prevention to risk of headaches, psychiatric health, effects on kidneys are not clear. They do not restrict the spread of the virus further and people in close contact with patients have risk of contracting virus. There are also other side effects of this drug like nausea and vomiting, which have to be handled by caregivers by administering other drugs.

After the outbreak of swine flu in April 2009, the worldwide use of Tamiflu has increased. The safety of the drug especially in children is a question of concern. Even though the immediate effects of the drugs are felt, the drugs fail to handle complications like bronchitis, sinusitis, ear infections and tonsillitis arising from flue.

Tamiflu and Relenza are been stockpiled by Governments across 100 countries, in case of pandemic. The US government has spent 1.3 billion dollars for keeping reserves and UK government 424 million pounds for their stockpile. After four years of struggle by the Cochrane reviewers, to gain access to the clinical trials of Roche and Glaxo Smith Kline, the manufacturers of the respective drugs, the European Government has asked leading companies to publish trail records. The public policy change which will bring up data from trials will help both health officials and government to better handle outbreaks and be prepared for the future.



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