A new data has revealed that antiviral Tamiflu (oseltamivir) is effective for treatment and prevention of influenza in children 1 year and older, particularly if given within 24 hours of symptom onset.
It has also revealed that the antiviral reduces the incidence of respiratory tract infections, ear infections and antibiotic use.
Tamiflu, an oral neuraminidase inhibitor, is designed to be active against all clinically relevant influenza viruses. It works by blocking the action of the neuraminidase enzyme on the surface of the virus. When neuraminidase is inhibited, the virus is not able to spread to and infect other cells in the body.
Tamiflu is the only member of the neuraminidase class of drugs approved for use in treatment and prevention of influenza in children 1 to 5 years of age.
"Children tend to be major vectors of influenza as they have limited pre-existing immunity, often spend time in groups and share germs easily. Its reassuring that oseltamivir can be used for the management of influenza in children as young as one year old," said Dr Keith Reisinger, Primary Physicians Research, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, USA.
Tamiflu was shown to reduce influenza severity by almost a third (29 percent) and illness duration by a quarter (26 percent) compared to placebo when initiated within 48 hours of onset1.
New data has revealed that if taken within 24 hours of symptom onset the influenza severity was halved (52 percent) and illness duration reduced by a third (34 percent) compared to placebo2.
In addition there was a 55 percent reduction in severe ear infections (otitis media) in the Tamiflu group compared to placebo if treatment was started within 24 hours2.
Tamiflu given as prevention reduced the incidence of secondary influenza infections3 by 55 percent. In studies Tamiflu was shown to be well tolerated and did not increase the risk for neurophsychiatric adverse events4.
The data presented at the World Society for Pediatric Infectious Disease (WISPID) meeting in Bangkok 15-18 November.