Antiviral Agents Used for Influenza Treatment and Prevention
By Allen Lefkovitz and Palak Patel
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), use of antiviral agents “is a key component of influenza outbreak control”. CDC states that “All long-term care facility residents who have confirmed or suspected influenza should receive antiviral treatment immediately” and “All exposed residents on units or wards with influenza cases in the long-term care facility (currently impacted wards) should receive antiviral chemoprophylaxis as soon as an influenza outbreak is determined.” An overview of FDA recommended dosing for the three neuraminidase inhibitors and the first-in-class polymerase acidic endonuclease inhibitor is provided below. Older antiviral medications (i.e., amantadine and rimantadine) are not recommended for use. The final choice of therapy is a decision that should be made by the prescriber based on individual patient characteristics and the clinical situation. Clinical benefit has been demonstrated when antiviral medications for treatment are initiated early (i.e., within 48 hours of onset of symptoms).