Letters The story of anti-influenza drugs

Potential adverse effects of negative publicity surrounding antivirals for influenza

BMJ 2014; 348 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.g3015 (Published 30 April 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;348:g3015
  1. Jake Dunning, honorary research fellow1
  1. 1Centre for Respiratory Infection, Imperial College London, London W2 1PG, UK
  1. j.dunning{at}imperial.ac.uk

Influenza is not trivial. During the first post-pandemic winter (2010-11), there were 8797 hospital admissions for influenza in England alone. At the peak, there were 851 influenza cases in critical care beds (~20% of UK capacity), mostly younger adults and children with pandemic H1N1.1 Prehospital antiviral use was uncommon (<3%), yet antibacterial drugs were often prescribed (25% in our series; unpublished data).

The latest Cochrane review of neuraminidase inhibitors for influenza was impressive but did not investigate antiviral effectiveness in severe influenza, illness caused by pandemic …

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