Does Tamiflu Actually Work?

Image result for tamiflu Studies indicate that this year’s flu season has emerged as fatal, having claimed the lives of approximately 100 children and leaving more than 1000 individuals hospitalized. Flu is a viral infection caused by influenza virus. Its symptoms that include; fever, running nose, congestion, muscle soreness among others and these can be relieved using over the counter drugs. Most Americans have been rushing to the pharmaceutical stores for Tamiflu which has been approved and endorsed as one of the drugs that can treat the severity of the influenza symptoms. The real question is – does Tamiflu actually work?

What does Tamiflu do?

Tamiflu, which is also known as oseltamivir, is an anti-influenza medication which has been used to curb the actions of influenza virus- A and B in the body of an individual. It does this by blocking specific enzymes known as neuraminidase which is majorly responsible for the virus spread and replication in the human body. Very few medications can use such mode of action to fight the flu virus. America FDA has clinically described Tamiflu as a drug that helps reduce the risks of hospitalization of adults and other opportunistic infections such as pneumonia and ear infections among children.

The reason why Tamiflu has remained effective over other drugs

According to researchers, Tamiflu has been found to be effective within the 48 hours after the detection of the flu symptoms. Its effectiveness has been attributed to the fact that it minimizes flu symptoms by 24 or 48 hours. American researchers have acknowledged that the drug is very effective when used within the first 2 days where an individual is likely to feel an improvement. They also stressed that individuals with flu should strictly take the medication as directed by a physician. As much as Tamiflu has been applauded by researchers, it is not seen as a remedy to prevent the mentioned complications. Other researchers from Cochrane Collaboration have argued that the drug only reduces the duration of influenza symptoms but not the number of individuals being hospitalized. Although they said their findings need more research to ascertain their arguments.

Who should use

Tamiflu has been acknowledged to reduce the severity of influenza symptoms within the 48 hours. The CDC has recommended that Tamiflu should be taken by any sick person at the risk of getting complications or hospitalized. These individuals should be from 2 years of age to adults. They stress that physicians should use their clinical observations and recommend the medication for lower-risk people. Furthermore, they recommend administration of the drug for preventive measures for people who have been exposed to the flu for a long time.

Points to note before taking this medicine

The centers for disease control (CDC) recommends that the drug should not be administered to children under the age of 2 years and those below 2 weeks of age to treat influenza. There is also a number of specific groups of people who should not use Tamiflu including:
  • Those with kidney, heart and chronic lung disease
  • Those who have allergies with oseltamivir.
  • Individuals with weak immune system caused by other factors
  • People who have a FluMist (nasal flu vaccine)
  • Any complication that causes swelling of the brain
You should take Tamiflu for as long as it has been prescribed to you by the doctor even if you have started feeling better to avoid recurrent infection and to ensure the flu is completely treated.    
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