Influenza and Tamiflu

Remember the days when governments were stockpiling Osiltamir (marketed as Tamiflu) to counter the effects of Influenza A (H1N1)? Well, those heady days are over.

In 2015, an analysis of Tamiflu found that the antiviral drug shortened the duration of symptoms of influenza by about a day and reduces the risk of complications, such as pneumonia, and admissions to hospital of patients with confirmed influenza[1]. Little was said about the increase in the occurrence of nausea, vomiting, renal problems and psychiatric syndromes as a result of Tamiflu.
The results of the study contrasted with that of the Cochrane reviewers, who found no good evidence that Tamiflu reduced the number of people admitted to hospital or that it reduced complications of influenza[2].

We have written about the possible ineffectiveness of Tamiflu several years ago (2014). See here.

Tamiflu has now been downgraded in the World Health Organization’s list of essential medicines from a 'core' drug to one that is 'complementary'—a category encompassing drugs that are deemed less cost effective.

[1] Dobson et al: Oseltamivir treatment for influenza in adults: a meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials in Lancet – 2015
[2] Jefferson et al: Oseltamivir for influenza in adults and children: systematic review of clinical study reports and summary of regulatory comments in British Medical Journal - 2014

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