Relenza / Zanamivir

Modified on 2009/10/14 21:51 by admin
In 1999 the FDA approved Relenza, the anti-flu drug manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline. Prior to Relenza, the only strategy available to fight the flu, or influenza, was the use of an influenza vaccine administered prior to the onset of flu-like symptoms. Relenza, unlike the vaccine, can be taken within the first two days of the onset of the flu. GlaxoSmithKline claims that Relenza can reduce the length of the illness by about one day.

There is evidence that certain researchers within the FDA doubt the drug's effectiveness. Additionally, Relenza has been shown to have potentially serious side effects, especially in patients who suffer from a preexisting respiratory condition such as asthma. The drug is suspected of causing several deaths, although at this time there is no direct evidence of such. The FDA lists bronchospasm as the most common side effect associated with Relenza.

In January 2000 the FDA took the unusual step of issuing a warning regarding the use of Relenza, stating that it had received "several reports of deterioration of respiratory function following inhalation of Relenza in patients with underlying asthma." In July 2000, GlaxoSmithKline issued its own warning regarding the danger of prescribing Relenza to patients with asthma or other preexisting respiratory problems. The company also admitted that the drug can cause respiratory harm even in patients without preexisting asthma or other breathing problems. Additionally, Glaxo stated that "some adverse events have required immediate treatment or hospitalization, and some patients . . . have had fatal outcomes" but it is "difficult to determine" if Relenza is to blame. While the drug is still available, some wonder whether the risks associated with taking Relenza (breathing problems and possible death) outweigh the benefits.

See your doctor if you have experienced serious side effects associated with Relenza. In addition, it may be important to contact an attorney who can help you protect your legal rights. Please keep in mind that there may be time limits within which you must commence suit.

See Also

  1. Flu Drugs: Overview
  2. Breathing: Overview
  3. Bronchospasm: Overview
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