The European Medicines Agency has said that the five-year shelf life of flu treatment Tamiflu may be extended by two years in the event of an emergency.
It also says that during an officially declared pandemic, such as that caused by H1N1 swine flu, “the benefits of the use of Tamiflu outweigh its risks in the treatment of children under the age of one”.
However, it warns that in the case of young children, because there is less evidence to support its use just for flu prevention, “doctors should carefully consider the benefits and risks for each patient.”
It says that the recommendations, which will only come into effect if a pandemic has been declared by the World Health Organization (WHO), will apply to newly manufactured Tamiflu capsules as well as older stocks.
It said that the recommendation is an attempt to ensure a ready supply of the antiviral medicines that would be key to managing a pandemic while production of the appropriate vaccine gets under way.
Copyright © Press Association 2009