September 10, 2009

CDC: Anti-virals only for those at risk

Treating people with H1N1 flu with anti-virals oseltamivir and zanamivir should only be considered for those at high risk of complications, U.S. officials say.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Mortality and Morbidity Weekly Report released Thursday says oseltamivir resistance was found in pandemic H1N1 virus from two patients who developed influenza while taking oseltamivir.

The patients attended a summer camp in North Carolina where oseltamivir was given to most campers and staff to prevent influenza. Oseltamivir resistance is still rare in pandemic H1N1. However, using oseltamivir to prevent influenza in patients who are not at high risk might lead to development of resistant virus, the report says.

The CDC recommends using antivirals to prevent pandemic H1N1 only for those at high risk for complications from the infection and to consider the alternative of early treatment once symptoms develop.

Oseltamivir and zanamivir are the only medications recommended for preventing or treating H1N1 flu.