Motivated by the problem of self-excited oscillations in fluid-filled collapsible tubes, we examine the flow structure and energy budget of flow through an elastic-walled tube. Specifically, we consider the case in which a background axial flow is perturbed by prescribed small-amplitude high-frequency long-wavelength oscillations of the tube wall, with a slowly growing or decaying amplitude. We use a multiple-scale analysis to show that, at leading order, we recover the constant-amplitude equations derived by Whittaker et al. (Whittaker et al. 2010 J. Fluid Mech. 648, 83–121) with the effects of growth or decay entering only at first order. We also quantify the effects on the flow structure and energy budget. Finally, we discuss how our results are needed to understand and predict an instability that can lead to self-excited oscillations in collapsible-tube systems.