Why tell us Truth Now about Swine Flu?

August 11, 2009

Swine flu drug ‘harmful to young

Children should not be given the anti-viral drug Tamiflu because its harms outweigh any benefits, researchers have said.

They called on the Department of Health to have an urgent rethink of its current policy in the swine flu pandemic.

Their study found that Tamiflu caused vomiting in some children, which can lead to dehydration and complications.

And the drug had little or no effect on asthma flare-ups, ear infections or the likelihood of a youngster needing antibiotics.

Dr Carl Henegan, a GP and expert from the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford, said the current policy of giving Tamiflu for mild illness was an “inappropriate strategy”.

He added: “The downside of the harms outweigh the one-day reduction in symptomatic benefits.”

The study comes little over a week after other research found that children given Tamiflu preventatively reported side-effects including nausea and nightmares.

Researchers analysed four studies involving children aged one to 12 taking Tamiflu or another anti-viral, Relenza.

The children were being treated for normal seasonal flu but the experts behind the research said their findings would extend to the current swine flu pandemic.

Dr Matthew Thompson, a GP and researcher at Oxford University, said children with mild symptoms should be treated in the same way as if they had any other mild flu – with drinks to cool high temperatures and rest. There was no need for children who were otherwise healthy to be taking Tamiflu or Relenza. Parents should be on their guard, however, for any potential complications and signs that their child is getting worse, he said.

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