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HEALTH Department Issues Statement Regarding Tamiflu and Theraflu

HEALTH alerts consumers that there is a difference between Tamiflu, a prescription medicine to lessen the severity and duration of flu, and Theraflu, an over-the-counter medication which may reduce fever or ease body aches and stuffiness. Theraflu does nothing to lessen the severity or shorten the duration of flu related illness. In addition, some preparations of Theraflu have high doses of acetaminophen and are unsafe for children. Tamiflu can only be prescribed by a physician, physician assistant, or nurse practitioner and is most effective if given within the first 24-48 hours of the onset of symptoms. Tamiflu is most often prescribed for those who have underlying medical conditions or severe illness which put them at a higher risk for complications from the flu. We understand that parents are trying to care for their sick children as best they can, and we would like to clarify the differences between these two drugs so that parents can more safely care for their children at home. Tamiflu Prescription medication Lessens severity and duration of flu Most effective when given within 24-48 hours of the onset of flu symptoms Theraflu: Over-the-counter medication May reduce fever or ease body aches and nasal congestion Does NOT lessen severity and duration of flu PLEASE consult your pediatrician before giving your child Theraflu as many preparations of Theraflu have high doses of acetaminophen and are not safe for children. For more information, call the HEALTH Information Line at 222-8022.

Related links

Department or agency: Department of Health

Online: http://www.health.ri.gov

Release date: 11-04-2009

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