This Week In The Bmj

Neuraminidase inhibitors treat and prevent flu

BMJ 2003; 326 doi: (Published 05 June 2003) Cite this as: BMJ 2003;326:0

Neuraminidase inhibitors are clinically effective for treating and preventing influenza, although evidence is limited for certain population groups and for all prevention strategies. Cooper and colleagues (p 1235) conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of 17 randomised controlled trials of zanamivir and oseltamivir. They found that treating otherwise healthy adults and children with either drug reduces the duration of symptoms by 0.4-1.0 days. The treatment also lowers the risk of complications that require antibiotics by 29-43% when it is given within 48 hours of onset of symptoms. Given prophylactically, the drugs reduced the odds of developing flu by 70-90%.

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