Tamiflu for Kids in Short Supply

Tamiflu is the most-prescribed treatment for the flu, and now, with H1N1 on the upswing, supplies of the kids' version of the antiviral drug -- the liquid form -- are running short.

CBS News medical correspondent Jennifer Ashton explained that the children's version of Tamiflu is different from the adult form. She said it has a different dosage, comes in a different strength, and usually comes in a liquid form, which is easier to get kids to swallow than a pill.

What does the shortage of children's Tamiflu mean if a child needs treatment?

Ashton said, if your child's doctor prescribes Tamiflu, you'll probably be able to get it in either the liquid or pill form. However, she added, in some regions, such as the Southeast, where many cases are being reported, shortages have been seen.

The Swiss drug maker Roche, Ashton said, is shifting its production focus to pills, which are more easily made, so there may be a "relative" shortage of the liquid form.

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However, if the liquid form does run out, there are other options, Ashton said. The pill form, she explained, may be compounded or made into a pediatric dose.

"But that gets into a dosage issue, which has been very confusing," she said. "And parents need to ask the pharmacist and the doctor to be sure they're giving the right dose -- because it can be confusing -- even for physicians."

Ashton added that every child who gets H1N1 flu doesn't need Tamiflu.

She said, "Most children recover on their own with just rest and plenty of liquids."
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