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Zanamivir for the prevention of influenza in adults and children age 5 years and older

Authors Lea S Eiland, Edward H Eiland

Published 15 July 2007 Volume 2007:3(3) Pages 461—465

Lea S Eiland1, Edward H Eiland2

1Auburn University Harrison School of Pharmacy, Huntsville, AL, USA; 2Huntsville Hospital, Huntsville, AL, USA

Abstract: On a yearly basis there are 3–5 million severe cases and 250,000–500,000 deaths worldwide attributed to influenza. Four antiviral medications are currently available on the market; however, resistance has resulted in the armamentarium being shrunk to two remaining active treatment options for influenza. These two neuraminidase inhibitors, oseltamivir and zanamivir, are recommended for the treatment and prophylaxis of influenza A and B in children and adults. Zanamivir, which is the focus of this review, is an inhaled antiviral that has shown benefit in the community, household, and nursing home population for post-exposure prophylaxis. Zanamivir protection rates range from 67%–84% in clinical trials of adults and children. Although the influenza vaccine remains the best modality to combat the disease, zanamivir may also assist in decreasing morbidity associated with influenza A and B.

Keywords: flu, prophylaxis, neuraminidase inhibitors, Relenza, community, household, nursing home

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