NICE reviews guidance on the treatment of ‘flu

Posted on April 16, 2009. Filed under: Infectious Diseases | Tags: , , |

NICE reviews guidance on the treatment of ‘flu

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has today (25 February 2009) published final guidance on the use of oseltamivir, amantadine and zanamivir for the treatment of influenza. NICE guidance recommends oseltamivir and zanamivir for the treatment of influenza in adults and children if all the following circumstances apply:

* national surveillance schemes indicate that influenza virus A or B is circulating
* the person is in an ‘at-risk’ group
* the person presents with an influenza-like illness and can start treatment within 48 hours (or within 36 hours for zanamivir treatment in children) of the onset of symptoms.

Following the review and reappraisal of this guidance people with chronic neurological conditions and people with chronic liver disease are now considered ‘at risk’. Also, zanamivir is now recommended as a treatment option for children between the ages of 5 and 12 years in ‘at-risk’ groups if influenza is circulating and they can start treatment within 36 hours of first symptoms.

During localised outbreaks of ‘flu-like illness the reviewed guidance now also recommends oseltamivir and zanamivir be used to treat ‘at-risk’ people living in long-term residential or nursing homes who have been in contact with the illness. However, this should be done only if there is a high level of certainty that the cause of the localised outbreak is influenza. Amantadine is not recommended for the treatment of influenza.

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