-- Mary Elizabeth Dallas
THURSDAY, May 30 (HealthDay News) -- People with a severe case
of the flu don't benefit from taking double doses of the antiviral
drug Tamiflu, according to a new study conducted in Southeast
Tamiflu (oseltamivir) stocks could be conserved during pandemics
if doctors prescribe only standard doses of this medication, World
Health Organization experts suggested.
The study involved 326 patients diagnosed with severe flu at 13
hospitals in Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam between
April 2007 and February 2010. Most of the patients were children
younger than 15, but some adults also were included.
Health-care workers treated the patients with either a standard
dose of Tamiflu (75 milligrams twice daily or the children's
equivalent), or a double dose of the medication (150 milligrams
twice daily or children's equivalent) over the course of five
Patients' virus levels were measured through nose and throat
swabs. Researchers then tracked how many patients died, were
admitted to the intensive care unit or required the help of a
ventilator to breath.
After five days of treatment, there were no differences between
the patients on a standard dose of Tamiflu and those given the
double dose. Moreover, no differences were seen in death rates or
other adverse events, the study found.
The findings were published online May 30 in the journal
The study authors concluded that there's no added benefit from a
higher dose of Tamiflu to treat severe flu, according to a journal
In an accompanying editorial, Ian Barr and Aeron Hurt from the
WHO Collaborating Centre for Reference and Research on Influenza,
wrote that a double dose of Tamiflu "is unlikely to significantly
improve the clinical outcomes of severe cases of seasonal
They added that the study's findings "could help to preserve
oseltamivir (Tamiflu) stocks during a future pandemic if clinicians
were to prescribe only regular rather than double doses." They
noted, however, that flu treatment options must be expanded and
further research is needed on more effective combinations of
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more
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