Does Tamiflu Actually Work?

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This year’s flu season has raised eyebrows by claiming the livesof over 100 children and leading to the hospitalization of over 1,100 individuals per week, which is a rate that the United States has not witnessed in a period of 15 years. Many Americans rush to the doctor for Tamiflu when flu comes knocking. Tamiflu is a popular drug that has been approved to treat the basic symptoms of influenza and prevent the virus from multiplying in the body. The drug is also prescribed by doctors to prevent the life-threatening complications including asthma and pneumonia. Whether Tamiflu works or not is a subject to debate as of today.

What Tamiflu does

Tamiflu is an antiviral drug that blocks enzymes known as neuraminidase that are responsible for replicating and spreading the flu virus through your body. Most flu researchers actually agree on the basics that Tamiflu minimizes common flu symptoms including;

  • Sore throat
  • Stuffy nose
  • Tiredness and
  • Fever

However, many over-the-counter medications can do this too.

Effectiveness of Tamiflu

Some researchers have pointed out that the effectiveness of Tamiflu is received when treatment is done within 48 hours after symptoms begin to appear. Tamiflu has been clinically proven to minimize flu symptoms by one or two days, which doesn’t seem like much especially if thousands of people get infected.

According to some drug safety researchers, the effectiveness made by CDC conflict with those of the U.S Food and Drug Administration. The CDC describes Tamiflu as a drug that “reduces the risk of complications including pneumonia and hospitalization in adults and ear infections in children. On the other hand, FDA’s drug label for Tamiflu states that the remedy “has not been shown to prevent such complications.” This difference of view has been perceived by many as a public health concern.

A 2014 review conducted by a group of independent researchers known as Cochrane Collaboration discovered that the drug only shortened the duration of patients’ symptoms by 17 hours and did not reduce hospitalization rates for influenza. However. It’s also important to note that the researchers also expressed some doubts about their findings. Their wavering confidence in their results was mainly influenced by problems in the design of their study.

Who Should Take Tamiflu

Tamiflu has been approved to treat the flu in individuals whose symptoms have not lasted longer than two days. The literature on antivirals for the flu indicates that they work best when taken 48 to 72 hours after the onset of flu symptoms. Doctors point out that the potential benefits are less if the antivirals are taken after that window period. That said, health professionals might still prescribe Tamiflu to individuals who are immunocompromised or at risk of flu-related complications even when the 72-hour period has elapsed. Health experts claim that healthy people may also develop complications of the flu including bacterial pneumonia. You should alert your doctor as soon as possible if you experience shortness of breath or a fever that lingers.

Nonetheless, as far as flu prevention is concerned, the Food and Drug Administration confirms that Tamiflu can keep individuals from falling sick in the first place. The issue of whether you should take Tamiflu or not is up to you and your doctor. No one should take any drug whatsoever unnecessarily. You may consider the drug despite the little side effects such as nausea and vomiting considering the need to recover more quickly. 17 hours is quite a long duration to keep free from the symptoms associated with the flu.

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