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Antivirals can now be used for flu in the UK

This article was originally published in Scrip

Executive Summary

Antiviral therapies for flu can now be used in at-risk patients in the UK after surveillance schemes indicated that the number of infections had increased to that seen in most winters, the Health Protection Agencyhas recommended. Current NICEguidance recommends flu antivirals for treatment or prophylaxis in the elderly and patients with heart problems, diabetes or diseases of the lung, liver or kidney, and in those with weak immune systems. It recommendsRoche's Tamiflu (oseltamivir) andGlaxoSmithKline's Relenza (zanamivir) but not Alliance Pharmaceuticals' amantadine. The guidance is currently being reviewed by NICE, and the final appraisal determination, issued earlier this month, indicated that its stance on rejecting antiviral use in otherwise healthy flu patients has not changed. The FAD also says that neither of the two antivirals is better than the other. The appeal period runs until January 9th.


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