Antivirals for 2010/11 flu season

Recommendations issued by NICE for antiviral use during the 2009/10 influenza pandemic have come into force again.

Tamiflu (oseltamivir) is taken orally as capsules or liquid; Relenza (zanamivir) comes as powder for inhalation.
Tamiflu (oseltamivir) is taken orally as capsules or liquid; Relenza (zanamivir) comes as powder for inhalation.

The guidance has been readopted for the current flu season in line with national surveillance data indicating that the H1N1 (2009) virus is now in general circulation. Oseltamivir continues to be recommended, along with zanamivir, for the prophylaxis and treatment of influenza.

The two antivirals can be used when:

  • A person with a flu-like illness is in an ‘at-risk’ group and they can start treatment within 48 hours (or within 36 hours for zanamivir treatment in children) of symptom onset
  • A person with a flu-like illness who has not received the flu vaccine is in an ‘at-risk’ group and they can start treatment within 48 hours (or within 36 hours for zanamivir treatment) of exposure to a person in the same household with flu-like symptoms

Pregnant women have been added to the list of ‘at risk’ individuals.

Letter from the Director of Immunisation

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