What is the role of medications in the treatment of H1N1 influenza (swine flu)?

Updated: May 18, 2020
  • Author: Michael Stuart Bronze, MD; Chief Editor: Russell W Steele, MD  more...
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Answer

Laboratory testing has found the H1N1 influenza A (swine flu) virus susceptible to the prescription antiviral drugs oseltamivir and zanamivir. Other antiviral agents (eg, amantadine, rimantadine) are not recommended because of recent resistance to other influenza strains documented over the past several years. Limited zanamivir resistance was reported for the H1N1 influenza strain in the 2007-2009 pandemic. Oseltamivir resistance was also noted (see below).

Basic supportive care (ie, hydration, analgesics, cough suppressants) should be prescribed. Empiric antiviral treatment should be considered for confirmed, probable, or suspected cases of H1N1 influenza. Treatment of hospitalized patients and patients at higher risk for influenza complications should be prioritized.


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