The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the use of Tamiflu for children under a year old.
Children as young as two weeks old who have exhibited flu symptoms for no more than two days can now be treated with the drug, but Tamiflu cannot be used to prevent flu infection in children in that age group. It can, however, be used as a flu treatment and preventative drug for adults and children 1 and older.
While the use of Tamiflu has been extended to children two weeks and older, it has not yet been approved children younger than that. Dosage for children two weeks to 12 months must be calculated based on the child’s exact weight. Children in this age group should be given 3 milligrams per kilogram of bodyweight twice a day for five days.
For example, the average one-year-old weighs approximately 21 pounds or 9.5 kilograms. The dosage of Tamiflu would then be 28.5 milligrams administered twice a day for five days. It is important to note that, for these smaller dosages, a different dispenser than the one that comes packaged with Tamiflu will be required.
As we reported last month, a British medical journal questioned the effectiveness of Tamiflu and claimed that there was no evidence that the drug could stop the flu. A researcher suggested boycotting Roche, the company that manufactures Tamiflu, until it published missing data about the drug.
Roche is also under investigation for not properly reporting the side effects of several drugs including Tamiflu.
The primary symptoms of the flu include a fever of 100 degrees or greater, muscle aches, chills, and extreme fatigue. Symptoms may also include sore throat, belly pain, and vomiting. Side effects of Tamiflu in children include vomiting and diarrhea. In rare cases, delirium may also occur.
In April, Bonnie Rochman, a parenting writer for TIME.com, wrote that Tamiflu made her 9-year-old son hallucinate. She reported her son’s experience — which included his running around the house believing he was being chased — to the FDA. The administration responded, “Reports of neuropsychiatric adverse events were the category most frequently reported in pediatric patients.”
Would you give your young child Tamiflu, or do the side effects seem worse than the flu itself?