1. Tamiflu goes generic – and that’s dangerous

    ‘New’ flu drug is not for you

    I was in the store the other day and saw Halloween decorations already for sale.

    Can you believe that? It’s still August for crying out loud!

    Halloween isn’t the only thing coming early this year. There’s something even spookier approaching… and that’s the annual fear-fest known as “flu season.”

    The FDA is getting an early start with its own version of a Halloween sale: The agency just approved a new and cheaper version of oseltamivir, a.k.a. Tamiflu.

    And that ought to give you more chills than whatever awful horror flick is coming to the box office this fall – because this isn’t a drug that needs to be expanded to more patients.

    It’s a med that needs to be pulled off the market completely!

    This drug is so bad – and backed by so little science – that any doc still prescribing it ought to be ashamed of himself.

    As you’ve read right here in House Calls, the drug does almost nothing for most patients, reducing the duration of flu symptoms by less than a day on average.

    It doesn’t cut the risk of complications or hospitalization, either.

    I’d call it a “do nothing” drug except it doesn’t exactly do nothing.

    It can do plenty – just not anything you want! The side effects of this drug can leave you battling headache, nausea, and vomiting – and that can make the flu look like fun.

    Even worse, the drug has been linked to psychiatric disorders and even kidney problems.

    You don’t need Tamiflu, whether it’s the real deal or the cheap new generic. If you happen to get sick, there are three steps you can take – and any single one of them is better than Tamiflu.

    First, take between 2,000 mg and 3,000 mg daily of the supplement NAC for up to a week, which can reduce the duration and severity of flu (and if you’re not sick, 600 mg per day can cut your risk of getting flu in the first place).

    Second, intravenous vitamin C can turbocharge your immune system to help beat the flu.

    And third, a blend of elderberry and Echinacea has proven to be about as effective as Tamiflu but without the risks. Since it’s effective at fighting viruses in general, this dynamic duo can also help punch out the common cold.

    You can buy these two separately, but they are also available together in immune-boosting blends in both capsules and as a syrup. Search online or ask at your favorite vitamin shop.

    Buy some today so it’s readily available this fall and winter if anyone in your home should get sick.

  2. Tamiflu drug failure

    Flu drugs don't work

    Flu season may be ending in much of the nation, but it's possible to get sick any time of year. And whether you get flu in winter, spring, summer or fall, your doctor is almost certainly going to try to put you on a flu drug such as Tamiflu.

    I've warned you about these drugs before. I've told you how they do little to nothing for most people, and how you're more likely to battle side effects than enjoy any benefits.

    And now, a major new study confirms just what I've been saying all along: Both Tamiflu and Relenza do almost nothing for flu patients.

    Overall, the review from the Cochrane Collaboration finds these two drugs may reduce flu symptoms by a total of about half a day when compared to a placebo.

    That's it.

    Now, maybe you could accept that incredibly minor "benefit" if the drugs could prevent flu complications such as hospitalization and pneumonia, and stop sick people from transmitting the virus.

    I've heard it claimed the drugs do all that and more. But the analysis of 20 internal reports on Tamiflu (oseltamivir) and 26 clinical trials on Relenza (zanamivir) confirms they do no such thing.

    While the benefits are exaggerated and even fabricated, the risks are very real -- including headache, nausea and vomiting as well as a risk of psychiatric disorders and even kidney problems.

    Personally, I think you're better off just lying in bed and waiting for the flu to pass, but the good news is, you don't have to do that, either, because there are safe and natural ways to beat the flu.

    And unlike flu drugs, these natural therapies are actually proven to work.

    N-acetylcysteine, also known as NAC, can help prevent the flu during the season and treat it if you happen to get it. For prevention, I recommend 600 mg twice a day in winter. And for treatment, take between 2,000 mg and 3,000 mg daily for up to a week.

    Studies have shown it can help reduce both the duration and severity of the flu.

    In addition, vitamin C can wipe the flu out -- especially in severe cases -- but you'll need more than the dose you can get from a supplement.

    For the best results, visit a doctor who can deliver C intravenously.

  3. Missing data on Tamiflu side effects

    The maker of Tamiflu has refused to release key data on the drug despite a growing call from major researchers and medical journals.
  4. The world's worst flu 'cure'

    Everyone, it seems, has a personal recipe for beating the flu: chicken soup, chrysanthemum tea, cayenne pepper, raw garlic...you name it, someone is taking it. I can't say whether they really will cure you -- but I can say this: Any of those folk remedies are better options than Tamiflu.
  5. A tale of two remedies

    Talk about your double standards--a new study finds that a popular herbal remedy does for the cold what a common prescription drug does for the flu.

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