National / Science & Health

Japan to lift youth ban on Tamiflu influenza drug


The health ministry, at the urging of a study panel Wednesday, is expected to lift a ban this year on the use of the influenza drug Tamiflu for patients from ages 10-19.

The use of the flu drug was restricted in Japan from 2007 following a spate of cases of abnormal behavior by patients who took the drug, especially among young people, including a tendency to fall or jump from elevated heights.

But research by the ministry and others has found that such behavior by influenza patients is not unique to Tamiflu users and patients younger than 10 years old also showed similar behavior after administration of the drug. Given those results, the Pharmaceutical Affairs and Food Sanitation Council study panel concluded that the ban should be lifted so Tamiflu can be treated the same as other flu remedies.