Flu, Tamiflu, and NICE…

Just a few notes about Tamiflu.

According to the NICE Tamiflu guidelines TA158, Oseltamivir, amantadine (review) and zanamivir for the prophylaxis of influenza (available here in PDF and Word formats in English, and Welsh just in Word), Tamiflu, among other undesirable side-effects, can cause bronchitis. Several pages on it lists bronchitis as a potentially fatal complication of influenza. This is not a good thing!

Tamiflu, I think, is somewhat over-rated. It may help, but at best it might reduce symptoms a little and might also reduce the duration of flu, but by only a day at best (it doesn’t come with any guarantees), and it is by no means the panacea many people seem to think it is. See sections 4.1.4 and 4.1.5 of TA158.

The best solution, by far, is to take all necessary steps to avoid catching the flu in the first place.

Previously,  by way of a little perspective, I’ve said that there were around 10,000 deaths a year from normal flu. I was wrong. According to NICE, normal flu actually causes between 12,000 and 13,800 deaths annually (source: TA158). And that’s with many people in high-risk groups vaccinated.

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