Swine Flu Drugs Should Not Be Given to Children
Children under the age of 12 with seasonal flu should not be given Tamiflu or Relenza, two antiviral drugs used for fighting against swine flu, because the risk of side effects outweigh the benefits of reducing symptoms, according to a new study by Oxford University researchers.
Published in Monday's online issue of the British Medical Journal, the study suggests Tamiflu can cause nausea and vomiting, which can lead to dehydration and other complications.
...Dr. Matthew Thompson from the University of Oxford said that while antivirals shortened the duration of flu in children by around a day, they didn't reduce asthma flare-ups or the likelihood of children needing antibiotics.
Ten days before the study was published, Britain's Health Protection Agency reported that more than half of 248 students suffered side effects including nausea, insomnia, and nightmares, after being given Tamiflu when a classmate fell ill with swine flu.
Tamiflu is a so-called neuraminidase inhibitor that acts by blocking a viral enzyme that allows the flu virus to invade cells in the respiratory tract.
The study was based on a systematic review of seven clinical studies observing the use of Tamiflu and Relenza for seasonal flu in 2,629 children aged one to twelve years.
Roche, which makes Tamiflu, said: "Health authorities worldwide such as the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice), European Medicines Agency (EMEA) and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have reviewed the data from controlled clinical trials and approved Tamiflu (oseltamivir) for use in children based upon a positive benefit/risk assessment.