Tamiflu is a prescription flu or influenza medication for adults, teens, and children over one year of age. Its technical name is oseltamivir phosphate. Tamiflu is to be taken soon after the first flu symptoms, when exposed to someone with the flu, or during a flu outbreak in the community to decrease the risk of getting the flu after exposure.
The medication can also treat and prevent bird flu or avian influenza. Tamiflu was approved in 1999 by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The manufacturers of Tamiflu are Roche Laboratories, Inc. For more information on Tamiflu, see these FAQs.
Tamiflu and the Risk of Self-Injury
In November of 2006, Roche Laboratories and the FDA notified health care providers and patients of revisions to the information about Tamiflu provided to patients. The Precautions/Neuropsychiatric Events and Patient Information sections of the prescribing information were revised. The changes were made due to reports, mostly from Japan, of self-injury and delirium associated with Tamiflu use for people with the flu.
People, especially children, who already have influenza may be at risk of self-injury and confusion soon after taking Tamiflu. Thus, people with the flu who are given Tamiflu should be monitored closely for signs of confusion, self-harm, and other unusual behavior. If you or a loved one take Tamiflu and experience any unusual behavior, contact your healthcare professional immediately.
In addition, the Tamiflu safety labels were updated in December 2012 to warn about safety in use of Tamiflu for patients under 2 weeks of age. In December 2010, an update to the Drug Interactions section regarding aspirin was proposed. Finally, in November 2010, an adverse reaction was reported that resulted in hypothermia.
General Precautions to take with Tamiflu and for the Flu Season
Even if you take Tamiflu, you should still try to avoid unnecessary exposure to influenza by taking the following precautions:
- Contact your healthcare professional if you feel worse, if you develop new symptoms during or after treatment, or if your influenza symptoms don’t start to improve after taking Tamiflu. Some infections can co-occur with influenza and will need to be treated as well to get better, make sure your treat both.
- Ask your doctor if you should get the flu vaccine, as it’s still a great way to stay healthy for individuals who can take the vaccine.
- Wash your hands frequently.
- Avoid touching your nose, mouth, and eyes.
- Avoid sharing silverware and drinks during the flu season.
- Stay home from work or school if you are sick to avoid infecting others.
Getting Legal Help
While all medications have certain anticipated side effects, drug manufacturer have a legal duty to make their products as reasonably safe as possible, and to inform the medical community and the public of known risks associated with their drugs. If a manufacturer fails to do so, it can be held legally responsible for injuries that result from inadequate warnings or the unreasonably dangerous nature of the drug, under a legal theory called "product liability."
If you or a loved one have experienced any bad side effects or were harmed by using Tamiflu, you should first contact your doctor or other healthcare professional. You may then want to consult with a knowledgeable attorney to discuss your options to protect your legal rights to compensation for any injuries caused by Tamiflu.
To learn more about an attorney's role in a pharmaceutical liability case, read the Get Legal Help with a Defective Product Injury article.