More than 40 patients report Tamiflu side effects in East

ABOUT 10% of patients who reported side effects to Tamiflu are from the East of England, it has been revealed.

Annie Davidson

ABOUT 10% of patients who reported side effects to Tamiflu are from the East of England, it has been revealed.

Between April 1 and August 6 there were 418 reports across the UK with 41 of those from the region which includes Essex and Suffolk, according to the medicines watchdog.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) is collecting data on suspected side effects - not all of which are confirmed as being caused by the drug.


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The 418 reports detailed 686 suspected adverse reactions, including allergy to Tamiflu and nausea.

Tamiflu, which is manufactured by Roche, has vomiting and nausea listed as its main side effects on its packaging.

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A total of 11% of adults and adolescents taking the drug experience nausea and 8% have vomiting, according to the summary of product characteristics.

Headaches are another side effect when the drug is taken preventatively rather than as a treatment.

The figures were revealed on the same day that television presenter Andrew Castle confronted Health Secretary Andy Burnham about the safety of Tamiflu, saying his daughter almost died after taking it.

He challenged Mr Burnham live on GMTV yesterday after researchers cast doubt that the anti-viral drug's benefits outweighed its side-effects for children - which include nausea and vomiting.

Mr Castle's 16-year-old daughter Georgina was given the drug earlier this year after an outbreak of swine flu at her private London school.

He said she suffered a “respiratory collapse” after being “just handed” the drug without having been properly diagnosed.

Mr Burnham told him: “The most important thing for me to say is that the research deals with seasonal flu, not swine flu, and that's a very important distinction that the Chief Medical Officer drew.

“Swine flu is a new virus - it's early days and we're adopting a very much safety first approach to tackling the illness.

“What we do know about swine flu is that it does disproportionately affect young people and children.

“And the Chief Medical Officer says Tamiflu is our only main line of defence against this new virus right now. So our advice has not changed at all.”

Mr Castle said later his daughter had suffered an asthma attack the day after taking the drug and spent three days in hospital.

Clinical studies, accepted by health bodies in the UK and worldwide, show that the drug should not aggravate asthma.

The MHRA has dedicated a section of its website to report side effects of Tamiflu and another anti-viral, Relenza, which can be found at http://swineflu.mhra.gov.uk/

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