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Treatment and prevention of influenza: Swedish recommendations
Dept. of Preclin./Clin. Assessment, Medical Products Agency, PO Box 26, SE-75103 Uppsala, Sweden, Section of Infectious Diseases, Department of Medical Sciences, University Hospital, Uppsala, Sweden.
Department of Virology, Swedish Inst. for Infect. Dis. Ctrl., Solna, Sweden.
Section of Infectious Diseases, Department of Medical Sciences, University Hospital, Uppsala, Sweden.
Smittskyddsenheten, Halland, Sweden.
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2003 (English)In: Scandinavian Journal of Infectious Diseases, ISSN 0036-5548, Vol. 35, no 1Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The introduction of the 2 neuraminidase inhibitors (NAIs) zanamivir and oseltamivir has offered new options for the prevention and treatment of influenza. This article summarizes a Swedish consensus guidance document on the rational use of antiviral drugs in the management of influenza virus infections. Vaccination remains the cornerstone for influenza prophylaxis. Target groups for the annual vaccination programme are the 'at-risk' individuals, i.e. elderly patients (= 65 y) and patients with chronic pulmonary disease or cardiovascular disease or other chronic diseases predisposing for a complicated course of influenza. Antiviral drugs are not a substitute for influenza vaccination, but could be used as adjuncts. Currently, 3 drugs have been approved for the treatment of influenza, including zanamivir and oseltamivir and the M2 inhibitor amantadin. Amantadin has come to very limited use, has recently been withdrawn from the Swedish market and is available only on a named patient basis. Compared with amantadin, the NAIs have clear advantages because of their broader anti-influenza activity against both type A and B, improved safety profiles and low potential for inducing drug resistance. The NAIs are therefore recommended as first options in the treatment of influenza. Oseltamivir can be taken orally, whereas zanamivir is for oral inhalation. Limited in vitro and in vivo data suggest that oseltamivir is less potent against influenza B, whereas zanamivir seems equally effective against influenza A and B. In influenza-positive healthy adults and children, treated within 48 h after symptom onset, the NAIs shorten the duration of illness by about 1 d. No significant effect on the duration of symptoms has been documented in treated at-risk patients with influenza. Owing to their limited therapeutic benefit, general use of the NAIs in the treatment of influenza is not recommended, but they can be advocated on an individualized basis for patients with severe influenza who can start therapy within 48 h of the onset of symptoms. Zanamivir is the preferred choice in a confirmed influenza B epidemic. For prevention of influenza, 2 drugs are approved, oseltamivir in adults above 12 y old and amantadin in people above 10 y old. The 70-90% protective efficacy of oseltamivir for household postexposure prophylaxis and for seasonal prophylaxis is comparable to that reported for amantadin. Oseltamivir is the preferred drug for prophylactic use. Chemoprophylaxis is targeted at high-risk groups and should be considered on a case-by-case basis depending on the circumstances and the population requiring protection. A broader preventive use of oseltamivir can be advocated in at-risk groups during seasons when there is a poor antigenic match between the epidemic strains and the vaccine strains. Oseltamivir prophylaxis is otherwise recommended for patients unable to be vaccinated and for families exposed to influenza which include a member of the at-risk groups. In high-risk hospital units and in institutions caring for the elderly, oseltamivir prophylaxis, in combination with vaccination, can be recommended as measures to control an influenza outbreak.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2003. Vol. 35, no 1
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-46695DOI: 10.1080/0036554021000026999OAI: diva2:267591
Available from: 2009-10-11 Created: 2009-10-11 Last updated: 2011-01-13

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Frydén, Aril
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Faculty of Health SciencesInfectious Diseases Department of Infectious Diseases in Östergötland
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