Millions of people the world over catch the flu each year. Many experience extremely debilitating symptoms from the influenza virus. Drugs like Tamiflu and Relenza have been developed to treat these symptoms and offer those infected some relief from the relentless illness. Recent news however has linked these treatments to neuropsychiatric events in some instances. Post-marketing reports, mostly coming out of Japan, have tied the medications to delirium and other abnormal behaviors that have in some cases resulted in fatal outcomes.
Most of the reported events occurred in pediatric patients and often characterized as having an “abrupt onset and rapid resolution.” Patients taking Tamiflu or Relenza should be closely monitored for changes in behavior. The FDA advises patients taking the medications to evaluate the risks and benefits of continuing treatment if abnormal behavior is observed.
Changes have been made to the labels of both medications to warn of the newfound risks.