Q: What is Tamiflu?
A: Tamiflu (oseltamivir phosphate) is a prescription influenza infection (flu) medicine used to treat adults, adolescents, and pediatric patients (1 year of age and older) with symptoms that have started within a day or two. Tamiflu is made by Roche Laboratories, Inc., and was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on (FDA) October 27,1999.
Q: Has there been any recent news about Tamiflu?
A: On November13, 2006, Roche Laboratories and the FDA notified healthcare professionals of revisions to Tamiflu's prescribing information to reflect news reports (mostly from Japan) of self-injury and delirium associated with Tamiflu use. People with the flu (particularly children) may be at risk of self-injury and delirium associated with the use of Tamiflu, and should be monitored closely for signs of unusual behavior.
Q: What should I know before taking Tamiflu?
A: Tamiflu's safety and effectiveness have not yet been assessed in people with chronic heart or lung disease, kidney failure, or in people with underlying high-risk medical conditions. Tamiflu has not been shown to treat flu-like illnesses caused by any viruses other than influenza A and B. Other kinds of infections similar to influenza (or that occur along with influenza) need different types of treatment. Tamiflu is not recommended for treatment or prevention of the flu in pediatric patients less than 1 year of age.
Q: Will taking Tamiflu prevent me from spreading the flu?
A: While taking Tamiflu can reduce the chance of getting the flu, it will not stop you from giving it to others. In order to prevent the spread of the flu, wash your hands frequently and avoid situations such as sharing cups and utensils.
Q: If I'm taking Tamiflu, should I still receive my annual flu vaccination?
A: Yes. Tamiflu does not replace the flu vaccine. You should continue to receive your annual flu shot if recommended by your healthcare professional.
Q: What should I tell my healthcare professional before he or she prescribes Tamiflu?
A: Tell your healthcare professional if you: are allergic to Tamiflu, to any of its ingredients in its liquid form, or to any other medications; take or plan to take any other prescription and/or nonprescription medications, including vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products; have ever taken Tamiflu to treat or prevent the flu; are immunocompromised (have HIV or AIDS); are taking immunosuppressant medications, cancer chemotherapy medications, methotrexate, sirolimus, oral steroids, or tacrolimus; have any type of heart, lung, or kidney disease; or are pregnant, trying to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding.
Q: Are there any side effects associated with Tamiflu use?
A: Tamiflu may cause side effects. Tell your healthcare professional if any of the following symptoms are severe and/or persistent: nausea; stomach pain; vomiting; diarrhea; headache; difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep; cough; or dizziness.
Some side effects can be serious. If you experience any of these symptoms call your healthcare professional immediately: rash, hives, or blisters on the skin; itching; swelling of the face or tongue; difficulty breathing or swallowing; or hoarseness.
Q: What should I do if I think I have been injured as a result of using Tamiflu?
A: If you or a loved one has experienced any dangerous symptoms or unusual medical conditions while using Tamiflu, you should first contact your doctor or other healthcare professional. You may also wish to meet with an experienced product liability attorney to discuss your options and to protect your right to a legal remedy for any injuries caused by Tamiflu use. Under product liability law, pharmaceutical drug manufacturers can be held liable for injuries caused by defective medications.