Medical Breakthrough:Tamiflu Shortage - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

10/30/05

Medical Breakthrough:Tamiflu Shortage

It is possible we could be in short supply of the medicine best advised to treat the flu this winter. No, we're not talking about the flu shot. There's plenty of that to go around this year. Instead, the concern is that with the potential of a bird flu pandemic. Consumers are stocking up on Tamiflu. That's the medicine that is best advised to treat the seasonal flu virus, since it appears to shorten the illness, when taken within 48 hours of the onset of the symptoms.

"We may have a shortage so people who have regular influenza and may not have access to Tamiflu who need it because people who are stockpiling it at home for a potential of an epidemic in the future," says David Weber M.D. an epidemiologist at University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

Dr. Weber says another fear is that people will diagnose themselves and take Tamiflu, when they don't really don't need it, and that could trigger nausea and vomiting. So, in a sense, by trying to prevent the flu, you could end up making yourself sick. Drug maker, Roche, agrees that consumers should let the government do the stockpiling, and only buy what you need, when you need it.

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