Having the flu is a truly miserable experience—especially in the heat of summer. Symptoms include fever, chills, muscle aches, cough, congestion, runny nose, headaches and fatigue. Unfortunately, once flu germs have taken up residence in your body, there is little that can be done except to treat the symptoms and wait it out.
The exception is if you can catch it early. In that case, there are several flu medications, including Tamiflu®, which can be given within the first 48 hours to reduce flu symptoms and shorten the duration of the disease. However, Tamiflu and other antiviral medications like Relenza are ineffective after the 48-hour incubation period.
That’s why I cringed when I heard from a friend that his physician had prescribed Tamiflu five days after the flu’s onset. My friend was also upset because the prescription wasn’t covered by his insurance and he had to pay out of pocket for what was, in essence, a placebo.
Physicians often have patients who demand a medication, such as Tamiflu, to treat their ailments. The problem with inappropriate use of medications, as well as unneeded treatments, is that it costs individuals and the healthcare system money and can create other problems.
Common Tamiflu side effects include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or stomach pain—especially fun with other flu systems. And occasionally, there are rare side effects of sudden confusion, shaking, problems with speech, hallucinations, or seizures, according to www.drugs.com. The site states, “These symptoms have occurred most often in children, but it is not known whether Tamiflu was the exact cause.”
When your patients are in the midst of a miserable bout with the flu, it may be hard to resist the promise of a faster cure—and even harder to turn down the patient begging for relief. That’s why having an unbiased source of information, like Hayes, is important.Contact Hayes if you’re ready to learn more about using evidence-based medicine to achieve better cost and care outcomes.