October 2, 2009

What about antiviral treatments?

Those who are not at heightened risk for complications from flu infection (such as babies and those with underlying illnesses) or who are not sick enough from the flu to require hospitalization, generally don't need antiviral agents like oseltamivir (Tamiflu) or zanamivir (Relenza) for treatment, said Titus Daniels, M.D., M.P.H., assistant professor of Medicine.

“When antivirals are prescribed, treatment should be started as early as possible. If they are initiated within 48 hours of illness onset, they're more likely to provide benefit, shortening the course of the illness by a day or two,” he said.