Flu Drugs Tamiflu, Relenza Called ‘Ineffective’ for Adults
Article Source -www.attorneyatlaw.com
As health officials around the world brace for the expected arrival of a worse-than-normal fall and winter flu season powered by the potentially fatal H1N1 “Swine Flu” influenza virus, British researchers say two flu drugs should not be used to treat healthy adults stricken with the illness.
Tamiflu, made by Roche, and Relenza, the GlaxoSmithKline PLC drug, are the two best-known flu drugs being stockpiled all over the world in case the H1N1 outbreak worsens as expected this fall. Since it first emerged in Mexico in April, the H1N1 strain of influenza virus has been blamed for 522 deaths and nearly 8,000 hospitalizations in the United States alone.
In a study published today in the Lancet Infections Diseases medical journal and reported by Reuters, researchers from the University of York said otherwise healthy people who come down with H1N1 flu without other complications should not be treated with antiviral drugs such as Relenza and Tamiflu.
Pregnant women, young children, elderly, and people with weakened immune systems due to cancer, HIV/AIDS, or other reasons are most at risk of developing severe, even deadly complications from the H1N1 virus, officials said. The World Health Organization has recommended the use of Relenza and Tamiflu for pregnant women, children under age five, and people with other underlying medical conditions.
However, another British study recently concluded that Relenza and Tamiflu should not be used in children under age 12. Children are more likely to develop severe vomiting, dehydration, and other side effects as a result of receiving the drugs, the researchers said.
Studies Examined by Researchers
The university researchers examined the results of several published studies of the two flu drugs and concluded that the drugs work best in people who are at increased risk of complications, such as those with diabetes or asthma. Both drugs trimmed nearly a day off the duration of the flu for such patients, the research team found.
According to the study, the drugs should be reserved for people who need them the most and not handed out like candy to everyone who becomes sick. As of today, the H1N1 flu appears to be worsening in Japan, improving in Britain, and still very active in the United States, U.S. health officials said.
H1N1 vaccines are now being tested and could be available by the end of September or October, officials said.