What you need to know about Tamiflu

What you need to know about Tamiflu
Hibbets said Tamiflu is designed specifically for the flu virus, but there are side effects some people can experience. (Photo source: WDAM)
Hibbets said Tamiflu is designed specifically for the flu virus, but there are side effects some people can experience. (Photo source: WDAM)

PINE BELT (WDAM) - The 2018 flu season has been deadly and dangerous.

Concerns across the United States regarding Tamiflu, the medicine prescribed to treat the virus, continues topping headlines. WDAM talked to one doctor getting the specifics about the medication and its side effects.

"There are dangerous side effects," said Family Practice After Hours Clinic Family Physician Dr. David Hibbets. "Fortunately, most people have more of the common side effects, which can include things like diarrhea and can include headaches."

Hibbets said Tamiflu is designed specifically for the flu virus, but there are side effects some people can experience.

"The more serious side effects are always anaphylaxis, and that's something you never know that someone is allergic to it unless they've had it before," Hibbets said. "So, the anaphylaxis would be the closing off of the throat, difficulty breathing, which would require immediate treatment."

Tamiflu is prescribed once someone tests positive for the flu virus. It works best if it is used during the first 48 to 72 hours once symptoms start.

"A couple of other things that can happen are Stevens Johnson Syndrome and epidermal necrolysis, which are major skin rashes," Hibbets said. "It can cause slothing off of skin, which can be fatal. Those are rare. They don't happen often, but they have been recorded. It actually does increase your risk of suicidality, one of the more severe side effects. Now, with any medication you will have side effects. In general we weigh the risks and benefits of those side effects. For the general populous the risk do not outweigh the benefits of taking the tamiflu."

There are going to be occasions when people do have a bad reaction to Tamiflu.

"In general it's safe, but there are dangers with it and that's why you have to consult with your physician," Hibbets said.