After receiving reports of patients experiencing delirium, psychosis and hallucinations, US FDA staff recommend that flu drugs, Tamiflu and Relenza should carry warnings about possible side-effects. Tamiflu is made by Roche Holdings, Relenza is made by GSK (GlaxoSmithKline).
Tamiflu (oseltamivir) is a pill, while Relenza (zanamivir) is inhaled.
Reports from Japan indicate that children, particularly, may have a higher risk of experiencing these psychiatric side effects after receiving the flu drugs. Tamiflu and Relenza are the most common medications used for the treatment of flu. Apart from the said side effects, there have also been reports of deaths.
The safety of these treatments come under review next week by a panel of experts. The FDA staff announced their recommendations today – they say the warning should be directed at patients of all ages, not just children. Whether the side effects and deaths were caused just by the drug(s), the flu virus, or the two together is not clear, they explain. They said it would be prudent to add information to the labeling, and added that the products will continue to be monitored. They did not go as far as suggesting that the use of the drugs should be limited.
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