Liquid Tamiflu for Children in Short Supply

Shortage should be resolved in week; Tamiflu capsules, flu shots widely available, U.S. officials say

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 8, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Manufacturing problems have created a shortage of the liquid form of Tamiflu, which is designed for young children who can't swallow capsules, U.S. health officials announced Wednesday.

The drug's maker, Genentech, has fallen behind in production of this version of the medication, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. However, the shortage doesn't include the capsule form of Tamiflu, which remains in good supply, said Michael Jhung, M.D., a medical officer with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Influenza Division.

Flu vaccines also remain widely available and unaffected by shortages, FDA spokesman Eric Pahon said. The CDC recommends vaccination for everyone older than 6 months of age as the best way to try to ward off the flu. A shortage of liquid Tamiflu could cause some children to be sick with the flu longer, Jhung said. However, capsule Tamiflu can be converted into liquid form by a pharmacy to treat very ill children, he said.

"For those patients who cannot swallow capsules, the capsules can be opened and the contents may be mixed with chocolate syrup or some other thick, sweet liquid, as directed by a health care professional," according to the FDA announcement on the shortage.

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