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Tamiflu effective in treating flu in children with chronic conditions
RSS icon HOUSTON -- (June 29, 2009) -- Children with chronic health
conditions benefit from the flu-fighting drug oseltamivir (Tamiflu)
when doctors prescribe it quickly – as soon as they suspect the
youngster has influenza – said an expert at Baylor College of Medicine
in a study that appears in the journal Pediatrics.
"This study demonstrates that those individuals who have underlying
medical conditions and thereby are at greater risk from complications
from influenza benefit significantly from the use of Tamiflu early in
their disease process," said Dr. Pedro Piedra, professor of molecular
virology and microbiology and pediatrics at BCM, and lead author of
Using health-claims data from six influenza seasons, researchers found
that those children and adolescents between the ages of 1 and 17 who
were at high risk of influenza complications showed significant
reductions in the risks of respiratory illnesses other than pneumonia.
It also reduced the risk of otitis media (a middle ear infection) and
hospitalization within 14 days of the influenza diagnosis when
prescribed Tamiflu. Significant risk reductions were also apparent 30
days after the influenza diagnosis.
Piedra noted the importance of diagnosing the influenza virus using a
confirmatory test, which led to a higher likelihood of prescribing
"If you are not thinking about the flu, you are not thinking about how
to treat the flu," said Piedra.
Role in H1N1 treatment
He also noted the significance this will have with the current H1N1
(swine influenza) pandemic in which antiviral treatment is important.
"If we have a major wave in the fall months and the vaccines are not
yet available, antiviral treatments will be the only way we have to
either prevent or treat H1N1 (swine influenza)," said Piedra.
Others who contributed to this study include Kathy L. Schulman of
Thomson Reuters and Dr. William A. Blumentals of Roche. Funding for
this study came from Roche.
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