Tamiflu Warning Concerns

Tuesday, November 14th 2006, 10:32 am

By: News On 6

The Federal Drug Administration says parents need to be wary of a popular flu drug this winter. Tamiflu may be connected to strange behavior and even several deaths of children overseas.

News on 6 reporter Chris Wright explains why the warning has not shaken a Tulsa doctor's faith in the drug.

Despite Monday's warning from the FDA, pediatrician Dr. Patrick Daley will not hesitate to prescribe Tamiflu to his patients this winter. "I'm very comfortable using the drug right now, I think it works very well." But the FDA is concerned about the drug because of some bizarre cases in Japan.

Tamiflu has been linked more than 100 instances of delirium and hallucinations there, as well as the deaths of three children who were using Tami-flu. Despite the warning, all the reported cases of abnormal behavior have been in Japan, and there are no plans to pull it from the shelves here in the states.

Pharmacist Lindy Rowland: “it is effective, it's been used in millions of cases, it seems to this point a fairly safe product." Rowland is the owner of Getman Pharmacy and he says the drug is in high demand in Tulsa during flu season, and he does not expect the warning to change that.

In fact, Tamiflu is one of the most popular flu medications in America. 6.5-million prescriptions were filled over the past four years. The US government has even stockpiled a large amount of it to combat a possible bird flu outbreak. "If it was my kid, if it was your child, what would you do? I'd probably go ahead and let her take it, and I'd observe her closely."

Dr. Daley agrees, saying parents should keep a close eye on their children if they are using Tamiflu. But when it comes to treating children with the flu, he says Tami-flu remains the best option out there. "So I pretty much use the Tamiflu, and will continue to do so this winter."

The FDA says it is difficult to directly link all the cases of abnormal behavior to Tamiflu because severe cases of the flu can also cause delirium and hallucinations.

Of course Tamiflu and other flu medications can only treat the virus, not prevent it. Doctors still recommend that everyone get a flu shot this winter.

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