Tamiflu Side Effects: Reports of Hallucinations Abound
This year’s flu season has been particularly dangerous, resulting in more hospitalizations and fatalities than those of recent years, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Many people with the illness have reached for Tamiflu; however, reports of serious neuropsychiatric side effects, such as hallucinations, are raising concerns about its safety.
Tamiflu, known as oseltamivir, and Relenza, known as zanamivir, are antiviral agents purported to reduce flu symptoms. Package labeling on Tamiflu states that it increases the risk of confusion and abnormal behavior, especially in children. Parents of children and teenagers who take the drugs are advised to monitor them closely.
The two antiviral drugs work by inhibiting an enzyme called neuraminidase. This mechanism of action poses a problem because the enzyme it blocks is essential for normal brain functioning; therefore, it results in neurotoxicity.
News outlets have related frightening stories of Tamiflu’s adverse effects that, in addition to hallucinations, include seizures, delusions, mood swings, memory deterioration and delirium. Tragically, the reports include bizarre accounts of children leaping out of two-story windows, rushing out into traffic, and running around the house because of a belief that they’re being chased. Moreover, deaths have been associated with the drug, some of which have been attributed to suicides.
While incidences of neuropsychiatric side effects are supposed to be rare, they’ve occurred often enough to be very troubling: since 2009, the Food and Drug Administration has received notifications of 559 cases of hallucinations from Tamiflu.
Cochrane Review of Tamiflu
Several years ago, an international team of researchers expanded a project called the Cochrane Review, which investigated the safety and efficacy of Tamiflu. The original report hadn’t included a review of 160,000 pages of undisclosed documents. Therefore, to get a complete picture of the evidence, the Cochrane Collaboration filed a Freedom of Information lawsuit to obtain the hidden documents from Tamiflu studies. In their final review issued in 2014, the researchers said that the harmful effects of the drug hadn’t been fully reported. The final review’s conclusion was that the benefits of Tamiflu didn’t seem to outweigh the risks, according to natural health practitioner Dr. Joseph Mercola.
Harlan Krunholz, M.D., reporting on the Cochrane Review in Forbes, said, “The manufacturer of the drug sponsored all the trials and the reviewers found evidence of publication and reporting biases.” The doctor also expressed surprise that no placebo-controlled trials had been conducted that had been funded by an independent source.
Advice on Staying Well in Flu Season
No one should order Tamiflu from the internet or take it unless their doctor has prescribed it without being prodded. Mercola advocates avoiding the flu through building your immunity, primarily by eating a nutritious diet devoid of sugar, refined grains and processed food. He recommends including fermented foods in the diet, as well as taking immune system boosters of garlic and oil of oregano. Check out our article 10 Foods For Optimal Immune Health This Season to learn more.
Washing the hands regularly with soap and water, along with hygienic measures like covering the mouth when coughing are also advisable, he adds.
Mary West is a natural health enthusiast, as she believes this area can profoundly enhance wellness. She is the creator of a natural healing website where she focuses on solutions to health problems that work without side effects. You can visit her site and learn more at http://www.alternativemedicinetruth.com. Ms. West is also the author of Fight Cancer Through Powerful Natural Strategies.