Roche's Tamiflu vindicated in new analysis of data
- After a period of disrepute, based on the results of a Cochrane review conducted in 2014, Roche's Tamiflu (oseltamivir) has been found to be effective at cutting flu symptoms by one day and helping some patients avoid hospitalization, according to an article published in the Lancet last week.
- The article reflects the results of an analysis of data from nine clinical trials, comparing Tamiflu with placebo for 4,328 adults with laboratory-confirmed seasonal flu.
- This analysis directly contradicts data from a Cochrane review in which researchers concluded that Tamiflu had few benefits and many risks.
This analysis could help resurrect a drug that was initially stockpiled by the U.S. government during the 2009/2010 H1N1 swine flu pandemic. During that time, sales of Tamiflu reached $3 billion before declining in light of rumors of severe side effects, including drug-induced psychosis.
Although researchers have found that Tamiflu is effective at reducing flu symptoms, it is associated with side effects, including nausea and vomiting. "Whether the magnitude of these benefits outweigh the harms of nausea and vomiting needs careful consideration," said lead researcher Arnold Monto.