With flu season in full swing, many Americans will turn to the medication Tamiflu for relief. The prescription product is highly advertised this time of year.
Dr. Mark Ebell, associate professor of epidemiology in the University of Georgia’s College of Public Health, analyzed published and unpublished studies of Tamiflu and concluded that it may be less effective against flu than many people think.
Ebell says Tamiflu shortens the duration of flu symptoms if you take it within the first 24 hours, but after that time is much less effective. The medicine also does not prevent hospitalizations, and has no significant effect on complications, Ebell says.
The manufacturer Genentech, responding to a query from GHN, said it stands behind the clinical data supporting the efficacy of Tamiflu.
“In clinical studies, Tamiflu was shown to reduce flu duration in adults 30 percent (1.3 days) faster by blocking the virus’ ability to replicate in the body,’’ a company spokeswoman said in an email.
Here is a video, courtesy of the UGA College of Public Health, of a GHN interview with Ebell, discussing his Tamiflu research.