The Go-To Flu Drug, Tamiflu, Might Not Even Be Effective

roche tamiflu

As the flu rages through our population, many people will run to their doctors hoping for the miracle of modern medicine.

When doctors see a patient with symptoms of the flu they often prescribe a drug known as Tamiflu, known generically as Oseltamivir.

Tamiflu is a nuraminidase inhibitor, which means it blocks the actions of a protein that is essential for the flu virus to make copies of itself.

Though researchers think they know how the drug works, a recent analysis shows that it might not be effective in making you feel better.

Writing for Forbes, Harlan Krumholz, dove into a recent review of studies of the drug, produced by the Cochrane group last year. The report is available on PubMed.

Krumholz found five things that really bothered him about the data about the drug:

  1. There are no independent studies of the drug — all of the tests were funded by drug companies.
  2. Taking the drug didn’t make it less likely that a flu sufferer would end up in the hospital.
  3. Because of the way the studies have been conducted, there is no proof that taking Tamiflu, or its generic counterpart, reduced the likelihood of complications from flu infection (for example, pneumonia). 
  4. The studies were also unable to show that the drug stopped you from spreading the flu to other people.Un
  5. If anything, the drug only reduces your sickness by a day. 

Because Roche, the maker of Tamiflu, won’t realease the data from their trials, it’s difficult to really make any conclusions about its effectiveness, the researchers conclude.

Read Krumholz’s full analysis at Forbes.

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