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Potential Dangers Of Anti-Influenza Drug Tamiflu
Posted by Dr. Ben Kim on Nov 26, 2005
I just read a disturbing article in the New York Times about recent reports of deaths and abnormal behaviour in Japanese children who were given the anti-influenza drug Tamiflu.
Here is a summary of the key points I learned from this article:
1. Tamiflu was approved for use in the United States in 1999, and in Japan in late 2000.
2. According to Roche, the manufacturer of Tamiflu, of the 13 million prescriptions written for children worldwide, 11.6 million have been in Japan.
3. According to documents prepared by FDA reviewers, 12 Japanese children, ages 1 to 16, have died after taking Tamiflu. Six of these children, ages 2 to 4, were completely healthy before getting the flu. In the words of the FDA reviewers, "it is concerning that six young patients died suddenly within one to two days after initiation of oseltamivir therapy."
4. Also according to the FDA reviewers, there have been 32 reported instances of "neuropsychiatric events" worldwide, with 31 of them occuring in Japan. These neuropsychiatric events include delirium, abnormal behaviour, and hallucinations.
5. Two Japanese boys, ages 12 and 13, jumped from the second story windows of their homes after receiving two doses of Tamiflu.
6. Two Japanese teenagers who died after receiving Tamiflu are thought to have committed suicide.
7. An 8 year old Japanese boy had a frightening hallucination three hours after receiving his first dose of Tamiflu and rushed into the street outside of his house.
8. There have been multiple reports of severe skin reactions in adults and children all over the world who have taken Tamiflu.
Predictably, Roche has responded to this data by saying that "the reports of these problems were rare given that millions of people had used the drug, and that the problems might have been caused by the flu itself."
Roche has also said that "the death rate among children taking Tamiflu was only one in a million and that the rate of death and other problems was no greater than in children with the flu who did not take the drug."
If this is in fact true, then why take the drug in the first place? If the rates of death for children who take Tamiflu and children who don't take it are the same, why take Tamiflu at all?
Sorry for the cliche, but no amount of money in this world could persuade me to take Tamiflu or any other flu drug or vaccine. And you better believe that I'd do everything I possibly could to make sure that my own child is never exposed to such drugs. It amazes and saddens me to know that so many children and adults all over the world take drugs like Tamiflu thinking that they are perfectly safe and that they are doing something good for their health.
Click here to read the original article in The New York Times. Registration is required.
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