Conserving the anti-flu supplies

    Healthy patients are asking for “just-in-case” medication to combat the swine flu.

    As Pennsylvania expands its stockpile of anti-flu medications, health officials are asking doctors to conserve their supplies of the drugs used to treat swine flu, which is also being called the H1N1 virus.
    Photo:Flickr/w00kie)

    Listen:

    [audio:090430teflu.mp3]

    Drugs like Tamiflu and Relenza can lessen the symptoms of the H1N1 virus and may prevent pneumonia. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is only recommending the drugs for treatment, not prevention. But doctors around the Commonwealth say healthy patients are requesting “just-in-case” doses of the anti-viral medications. Dr. John Goldman is denying those requests.

    Goldman: Part of the reason is that if we do have an outbreak, we want to be able to get the medications to the people who need them, not have them sitting in somebody’s medicine cabinet taking it if they might have the swine flu.

    Goldman is chair of Infection Control for the Pinnacle Health system in Harrisburg. He’s also hesitant to prescribe the medications because, he says, patients who stockpile antiviral drugs often take them them at the wrong time, for the wrong illness.

    Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

    It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.