So far the only weapon we have against bird flu is Tamiflu which is being stockpiled by governments all over the world, despite the fact that the avian flu virus may have mutated so that the drug will no longer be effective. Now there's more ominous news: Tamiflu may lead to suicide.
Jeremy Laurance writes in the Independent that two teen-aged boys in Japan committed suicide after taking Tamiflu, raising concerns about the drug. The boys did not know each other. In 2004, the Japanese government issued a warning about psychological disorders linked to Tamiflu, but no warning was issued in the US or in Europe.
One of the boys who killed himself jumped off his roof into the path of an oncoming truck after taking the drug. The second boy fell or jumped from the ninth floor of his apartment building. Tamiflu could lower the serotonin level in the body, which could lead to depression in people who already have that tendency. If that?s the case, it will be especially important to keep an eye on teens who are taking it, since teenagers are at the highest risk for killing themselves.
So far, Tamiflu hs been taken by 33 million people in 80 countries. The Japanese are the biggest users of the drug. Tamiflu has been around for years?long before the bird flu scare. It shortens the duration of flu and reduces its symptoms. It can also prevent flu if family members take it right away, after someone else in the family comes down with flu symptoms.
Art credit: http://www.freeimages.co.uk
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