Antiviral medications for influenza. 2015, Korownyk, Can Fam Physician

Biased, poor-quality, mostly unpublished evidence suggests that oseltamivir and zanamivir shorten the duration of influenza symptoms by 0.6 to 0.7 of a day. Pneumonia and hospitalizations are not decreased.
Oseltamivir sales are more than $18 billion. Most have not been used. These products are not recommended if symptoms have lasted longer than 48 hours.


Complications: tracking down the data on oseltamivir. 2009, Cohen, BMJ

An interesting BMJ investigation, relating how Cochrane was trying to get access to Tamiflu clinical research.
In 2009 a Japanese pediatrician asked Cochrane why their systematic review is based on unpublished manufacturer data and not on their own analysis. Cochrane had to answer within 6 months and they were trying for a long time to get the baseline data from the manufacturer. They never got it.
As a result, Cohrane decided to change their methodology of systematic reviews.


The Tamiflu fiasco and lessons learnt. 2015, Gupta, Indian J Pharmacol

Another interesting article on Tamiflu. How it happened that despite the absence of scientific proof of safety and efficacy of this drug WHO, FDA, CDC and EMA (European analogue of FDA) issued recommendations for its use in treatment and prophylaxis of influenza, and it's stockpiling as a measure to tide over the potential pandemic. More here [1], [2].
Mortality risk 12 hours after taking Tamiflu is 1.9 times higher than after taking Relenza, and risk of complications is 5.9 times higher.


Vitamin D for influenza. 2015, Schwalfenberg, Can Fam Physician

Tamiflu and Relenza are useless drugs which do more harm than good. The author writes that in nursing homes he has seen some of the patients and staff develop vomiting; some with serious diarrhea (also a known side effect); some with acute confusion, hallucinations, or delirium; and a number with worsening cognitive function. These medications should no longer be stockpiled or used. This would result in tremendous savings in health care dollars.
The Institute of Medicine recommendation for adults younger than 70 years of age is 600 IU of vitamin D daily, to achieve a level of 50 nmol/L in more than 97.5% of individuals. Regrettably, a statistical error has resulted in erroneous recommendations by the Institute of Medicine leading to this conclusion. In actual fact one needs to take 8800 IU of vitamin D to achieve this level in 97.5% of the population.
The author and his colleague have introduced vitamin D at doses that have achieved greater than 100 nmol/L in most of their patients for the past number of years, and they now see very few patients with the flu or influenza like illness. In those patients who do have influenza, they have treated them with the vitamin D hammer: a 1-time 50 000 IU dose of vitamin D3 or 10 000 IU 3 times daily for 2 to 3 days. The results are dramatic, with complete resolution of symptoms in 48 to 72 hours. The cost of vitamin D is about a penny for 1000 IU, so this treatment costs less than a dollar.

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