Pharmacist says there is less panic this year
THERE HAS been no noticeable increase in demand for the drug Tamiflu, prescribed for those struck down with swine flu.
That is according to New Ross Pharmacist Michael Burke, who says there is far less of a panic associated with this year's epidemic compared to last year.
'There was a lot more of a panic about swine flu last year, this year people don't seem to be as worried,' said Michael.
According to Michael, some days three or four people who present themselves at his chemist are prescribed Tamiflu, while other days he may have no-one in need of the drug, which comes in three different dosage levels and is administered depending on the patient's condition.
GPs have supplies of the medication in their surgeries but chemists may also supply them to customers too.
Although demand for the drug remains more or less at last year's levels this may change within the coming weeks with the HSE issuing health warnings while urging people to get the precautionary seasonal flu vaccine.
'We have Tamiflu in stock and haven't needed to order it, there is plenty of it in supply I would imagine,' said Michael.
People may be misled about the swine flu as its symptoms are very similar to seasonal flu. The main difference is that the swine version is more severe and takes longer to get over, sometimes taking up to eight weeks for the patient to feel normal again.
Apart from the Tamiflu drug, there has been no significant increase in demand for other products that alleviate flu like symptoms with Michael saying that he has yet to see one prescription for a drug called Relenza, which is also supplied by the government to treat flu.
'This could all change tomorrow though,' said Michael, adding that he certainly believes a lot of people are looking after themselves at home and not going to doctors when it comes to the flu.