Tamiflu is an anti-viral drug that is typically given within the first 48 hours to help reduce symptoms and get rid of the flu quicker. Medical professionals say it’s really the only drug that consistently works in helping to stop the virus from replicating. Some rare side effects like confusion, disorientation, and even hallucinations have parents worried.
Doctors say they are extremely rare. Margaret Oates, Pediatric Pharmacist at the Children’s Hospital of Georgia says she personally has never seen a child with the side effects.
“I think the most common head-related thing I’ve seen has probably been those headaches, those mild headaches.”
Dr. Gene Fisher is the Chief of Pediatric Critical Care at the hospital. He says fighting the flu with Tamiflu gives your child the best chance to get rid of it quicker.
“We know that the flu kills, and it is killing children throughout this country, and throughout Georgia…If I have the flu or if one of my children has the flu, I don’t hesitate for them to be prescribed appropriate anti-flu medication.”
On Tamiflu’s website, the company says children two weeks and older can take Tamiflu for the illness.
“There’s not really another magic drug to take from an antiviral standpoint that would stop the replication process,” said Oates.
Oates fills medications for children with illnesses like the flu. She says as far as side effects go, there are several she often sees.
“Most common side effects we see are the GI side effects.”
Those include nausea, vomiting, and headaches.
But on the popular website Rx.com, there is mention of possible mental side effects that can occur more commonly in children.
“There are certain rare side effects like hallucinations that are listed on the drug’s monogram for Tamiflu, a lot of those are usually listed on there as less than 1%.”
She says extremely high fevers, a common flu symptom, are more likely to cause these hallucinations…NOT the medication.
Dr. Fisher adds these kinds of reactions are few and far between.
“Almost never…I have never taken care of a child with a serious problem related to a side effect of Tamiflu.”
Oates says the hospital prescribes Tamiflu to fight the flu all the way down to their neo-natal unit for newborns. While they have only seen headaches as far as head-related side effects if you have a rare reaction like a hallucination you need to seek a physician’s help immediately.
Who is Considered High Risk Kids with underlying medical conditions:
- Lung disease
- Heart disease
- Neuromuscular disorders
- Weakened immune system
- Children with diabetes, sickle cell disease, kidney or liver disease