See doctors before taking antiviral medicine, flu patients told

The health ministry says 1.1 million capsules of medicine, which can benefit 110,000 patients, have been approved for  private health facilities since December. (File pic)

KUALA LUMPUR: Those infected by influenza have been advised to consult their doctors before taking any antiviral medication.

Health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said although antiviral medication could help reduce influenza symptoms and alleviate health complications, it should be used rationally to prevent antimicrobial resistance which could result in ineffective treatment outcomes.

“Oseltamivir is an antiviral medicine used to treat patients infected with the influenza virus. In Malaysia, there are various registered brands available for medicines containing oseltamivir such as Tamiflu, Fluhalt, Osmivir and Starflu.

“Patients are advised to consult their doctors before taking any medication. Doctors will provide appropriate treatment after assessing the patient’s condition,” he said in a statement today.

Noor Hisham said there was sufficient supply of antiviral medication at the health ministry’s facilities although the demand had increased four-fold since December.

He said there was a spike in demand for antiviral medication at private health facilities and the ministry had given approval to source them from alternative suppliers.

The ministry, he said, had approved nearly 1.1 million capsules of medicine from December to meet the demand at private health facilities which could benefit 110,000 patients.