“Tamiflu may do more harm than good for children with flu symptoms, research suggests.
“Oxford University researchers found the antiviral drugs Tamiflu and Relenza caused vomiting, dehydration and complications in some children.”
I’m thinking it probably wouldn’t have hurt them to announce their preliminary findings a couple of months ago when Tamiflu was being dished out like smarties to kids – particularly in Britain. At least in New Zealand, the stuff has been mostly only given to kids at risk of serious complications, where a bit of vomiting would be a small price to pay for a bit of protection.
Except that it seems that no protection is provided. In a throwaway line the article says:
“Children recovered from flu up to one day earlier but the drugs had little or no effect in curbing asthma, ear infections or the likelihood of a child needing antibiotics.”
In other words, it causes plenty of side effects and it doesn’t work.
What a wonderful drug.
In fairness, the studies were not looking at the viral pneumonia of swine flu, which is the major reason why people seem to die from it. The studies were looking at exacerbations of asthma, ear infections and the use of antibiotics for secondary infections. It may be that for children very at risk of problems (as in kids with cystic fibrosis or with immunosuppression from anti-cancer drugs) might benefit from Tamiflu. But that would be a very small subset of children.
In related news, Canterbury is closing down its swine flu centers because of the lack of patients. Perhaps the Swine Flu epidemic is blowing over (in which case it turned out to be less interesting than the bird flu one). Flu normally peaks a second time in late August – early September, but it is possible the swine flu, due to its extra infectivity, has already “shot it’s bolt”. Clearly, the public health department think this is the case. Curiously, the disease still seems to be ripping through Australia at a great rate of knots, though the figures are beginning to settle.
So it is possible that this will be the MacDoctor’s last swine flu update. If you are having a slow day today, check through all of my Swine flu posts where you can track my initial panic slowly converting into solid cynicism. Congratulations to all those bloggers who maintained strong cynicism from day one (you are too numerous to mention individually). Your lack of faith in human nature was accurate.
Now, about that measles epidemic…