Researchers question effectiveness of Tamiflu, Relenza

The Influenza medicine Tamiflu is shown here on display at West Trenton Pharmacy in West Trenton, N.J., Thursday, Oct. 7, 2004. Pharmaceutical companies Roche, the maker of Tamiflu, and GlaxoSmithKline, which makes Relenza, say they plan to increase supply of their drugs, but are still working out specifics. With the nation's influenza vaccine supply suddenly halved, doctors are expecting a surge of patients seeking prescriptions for medicines that can lessen severity of the flu and even prevent it. (AP Photo/Brian Branch-Price)
April 10, 2014 9:06:47 PM PDT
International investigators question whether two drugs stockpiled by dozens of nations would really help in a global flu outbreak.

Tamiflu and Relenza can shave half a day off flu symptoms, but the reviewers say there is no evidence either drug reduces complications or hospitalizations.

The drugs can help prevent the flu, but the researchers say there is no evidence they can stop the spread of the virus once someone is sick.

The manufacturers say reviewers did not look at all the evidence.

The United States has spent more than a billion dollars stockpiling these drugs.

Officials are say a salmonella outbreak linked to chicken processed by Foster Farms isn't over yet.

There were more new cases in February, bringing the total number of people sick to 524 in 25 states.

The outbreak started in March of last year.

The government ordered big changes at three Foster Farms plants, but they are not saying whether the new cases were from chicken processed before or after those changes.

When it comes to expired medicine, you may not need to throw them all out.

We have always been told not to use meds past the expiration date because they may not work as well, but a doctor from Emery School of Medicine says not so fast.

She says medication used for minor ailments may last much longer.

"The reality is that because these expiration dates are so conservative, probably even 5-10 years from the time of the expiration date, a person can try still using their product," says Dr. Sharon Bergquist.

She says some could still be up to 90-percent effective.

But here's where you cannot use old medication.

Any medication used for a chronic condition such as diabetes or heart disease has to be up to date, including Insulin, Vaccines, Antibiotics, and eye drops.

And if you have any questions, it's best to call your healthcare provider or pharmacist.


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