August 10, 2009

Tamiflu, anti-virals may not help children

A meta-analysis found anti-virals such as Tamiflu and Relenza may not help children with novel H1N1 flu, or swine flu, a researcher in Britain said.

Matthew Shun-Shin of John Radcliffe Hospital and Oxford University in England and colleagues conducted systematic review of data from published and unpublished randomized controlled trials using anti-virals in children younger than age 12.

Eligible studies included four randomized trials of treatment of influenza -- two with Tamiflu two with Relenza -- involving 1,766 children, 1,243 with confirmed influenza -- and three randomized trials, one with Tamiflu, two with Relenza involving 863 children as a prophylactic treatment started immediately after exposure to the flu.

However, none of these trials tested efficacy with the current pandemic strain of H1N1 flu, the review said.

The study, published in the British Medical Journal, found anti-viral drugs provide a small benefit by shortening the duration of illness in children with seasonal influenza and reducing household transmission, but they have little effect on asthma exacerbations or the use of antibiotics.

Their effects on serious complications or H1N1 influenza strain remain to be determined, the review said.