Vaccination is the primary method for control of influenza; however, antiviral agents have a role in the prevention and treatment of mainly influenza type A infection. Regardless, antiviral agents should not be considered as a substitute or alternative for vaccination.
As of Dec. 15, 2010, the CDC published the following concerning antiviral medications:
Antiviral medications with activity against influenza viruses are an important adjunct to influenza vaccine in the control of influenza.
- Influenza antiviral prescription drugs can be used to treat influenza or to prevent influenza.
- Two FDA-approved influenza antiviral medications are recommended for use in the United States during the 2010-2011 influenza season: oseltamivir (Tamiflu) and zanamivir (Relenza).
- Oseltamivir and zanamivir are chemically related antiviral medications known as neuraminidase inhibitors that have activity against both influenza A and B viruses.
- Antiviral treatment is recommended as soon as possible for patients with confirmed or suspected influenza who have severe, complicated, or progressive illness, or who are hospitalized.
- Antiviral treatment is recommended as soon as possible for outpatients with confirmed or suspected influenza who are at higher risk for influenza complications based on their age and/or medical conditions; clinical judgment should be an important component of outpatient treatment decisions.
- Antiviral medications currently recommended include oseltamivir and zanamivir, based upon recent viral surveillance and resistance data indicating that >99% of currently circulating influenza virus strains are sensitive to these medications. Amantadine (Symmetrel) and rimantadine (Flumadine) should not be used because of high levels of resistance to these drugs among circulating influenza A viruses.
- Oseltamivir should be used to provide treatment or chemoprophylaxis (prevention of the flu after exposure to the virus) for infants younger than 1 year of age when indicated.
- Antiviral treatment can be considered for any previously healthy non-high-risk symptomatic outpatient with confirmed or suspected influenza who is not in the recommended groups, based upon clinical judgment, if treatment can be initiated within 48 hours of illness onset.
- Because antiviral resistance patterns may change over time, clinicians should monitor local antiviral resistance surveillance data.
This answer should not be considered medical advice...This answer should not be considered medical advice and should not take the place of a doctor’s visit. Please see the bottom of the page for more information or visit our Terms and Conditions.
Thanks for your feedback.
Read the Original Article: Flu (Influenza)