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Treating children with Tamiflu is tricky even when the drug is in normal supply, said Dr. Ruth Parker of Emory University, who co-authored a short report on the topic released Wednesday by the New England Journal of Medicine.
She noted instances in which instructions on the pharmacy label for kid's liquid Tamiflu were different from the manufacturer's label,
"It's already confusing. This (shortage) doesn't help," Parker said.
She urged parents to open up a Tamiflu prescription when they pick it up and go over the information with a pharmacist to make sure they understand how much to give.
Health officials say that in the event of shortages, Tamiflu should be prioritized for people who are hospitalized and for those at risk for severe flu complications, including young children, pregnant women, the elderly and people with chronic health conditions.
Tamiflu is made at several facilities, including some in the United States. The company has been increasing production, and by next year it is expected to have jumped 10-fold since 2005. By that time, the company will be making 33 million courses of treatment per month, Becker said.
A course of treatment is two doses daily for five days, she added.
Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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