Friday, December 07, 2007

Does Tamiflu cause the psychiatric problems?

From HSI (Health Sciences Institute)

It’s been all over the news: The FDA requested that Roche Holding AG, the makers of Tamiflu, add a new warning to their labels. You see, Tamiflu seems to be linked with severe, sudden psychiatric problems, especially in children. And when I say severe, I mean it – delirium, hallucinations, and impulsive actions like “falling” (maybe jumping?) off buildings and running into traffic…which can result in death.

Most of the documented cases come from Japan, a country where they used to give Tamiflu to many children. In fact, 75% of the approximately 600 cases worldwide happened there – including 5 deaths.

Roche countered with their own study.of over 150,000 subjects. Their study finds no direct link between these problems and their drug. But they did agree to the labeling changes, as long as they could add a little language of their own, that goes something like this:

“It’s important really that the label reflects that influenza itself can trigger such events,” said Roche spokesowman Martina Rupp. She went on to say that all patients with full-blown flu should be warned that the illness itself posed a risk of psychiatric problems, not just for those taking the Roche product. (This comes from the AP.)

And that’s where I think Roche has been taking its own drugs. Because what they’re really saying when you read between the lines is this: Tamiflu isn’t working. If you have taken Tamiflu, but still have such a bad case of the flu that you’re experiencing psychiatric symptoms, the medicine didn’t work.

So which is it, Roche execs? Does Tamiflu cause the psychiatric problems? Or is it simply ineffective?

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