Tuesday, January 13, 2015

CDC Health Update: Treatment of Influenza with Antiviral Medications

Holly Harmon

The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) released a Health Update on January 9, 2015 to remind clinicians that influenza should be high on their list of possible diagnoses for ill patients. Influenza activity is elevated nationwide and the CDC advises clinicians that all high-risk patients with suspected influenza should be treated as soon as possible with one of three available influenza antiviral medications. This should be done without waiting for confirmatory influenza testing. While antiviral drugs work best when given early, therapeutic benefit has been observed even when treatment is initiated later.

Hospitalization rates are especially high among people 65 years and older. The use of influenza antiviral drugs as an adjunct to vaccination is more important this year than usual in protecting people from influenza. Antivirals are available and recommended, but evidence from the current and previous influenza seasons suggests that they are severely underutilized. Here is the latest CDC Health Update.

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