Intended for healthcare professionals


Treat suspected flu with antivirals, hospital doctors are told

BMJ 2018; 360 doi: (Published 22 January 2018) Cite this as: BMJ 2018;360:k312
  1. Nigel Hawkes
  1. London

Patients admitted to acute hospitals in England with suspected flu should be treated with antiviral drugs as quickly as possible, NHS trusts have been told in a letter from the national medical director, Bruce Keogh.

The value of antivirals such as oseltamivir (Tamiflu) in treating flu is hotly contested—a fact Keogh acknowledges in the letter, noting “divergent views” on how useful they are.

However, given the current strain on services, he writes, “The question arises as to whether antiviral medication could reduce hospital stay, freeing up beds and relieving some of the pressure.” After consulting the chief medical officer and Public Health England, Keogh has decided that the answer …

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