Prophylactic doses not for pregnant women


There has been speculation on whether Oseltamavir (Tamiflu) is safe to be administered to the higher risk group, especially pregnant woman, due to the side effects highlighted in different media.

According to Dr Praveena Shenoy, Consultant Gynaecologist at Manipal Hospital, Tamiflu should not be given as a prophylactic dose (without confirmation) to expecting mothers.  “Pregnant women belong to the higher risk group, and administering any drug without confirmation is certainly not viable,” she said.
However, the pregnant woman who succumbed in a private hospital recently was given Tamiflu as a prophylactic dose.

The Medical Director of the private hospital said that there is no guideline to treat a pregnant woman separately. “We treated the patient as one from a ‘high risk group and she was under ‘C’ category", said the doctor.

Antiviral inhaler
The second line of drug Virenza  was launched 1.5 months ago by Cipla. The drug available in Rota caps form is used as an inhaler.  
Cipla's Zonal Manager (South) Abir Banerjee said that the drug has been newly launched and is yet to hit the market.
"Drugs like Virenza cannot be made easily available over the counter as a "Schedule X" prescription is required to administer the medicine", he said.

He added that Virenza was used by a doctor recently as a prophylactic drug which showed successful effects on the patient. Nevertheless, the State Health Department still may not have explored other options. Director of Health and Family Welfare Dr. Usha Vasunkar said that Tamiflu is the available drug now and can be administered even to pregnant women.

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