Which medications in the drug class Antiviral Agent are used in the treatment of H1N1 Influenza (Swine Flu)?

Updated: Apr 09, 2019
  • Author: Michael Stuart Bronze, MD; Chief Editor: Russell W Steele, MD  more...
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Answer

Antiviral Agent

Drugs indicated for treatment of H1N1 influenza A virus include neuraminidase inhibitors (ie, oseltamivir and zanamivir).

Oseltamivir and zanamivir inhibit neuraminidase, which is a glycoprotein on the surface of influenza virus that destroys an infected cell's receptor for viral hemagglutinin. By inhibiting viral neuraminidase, these agents decrease the release of viruses from infected cells and, thus, viral spread.

These antivirals are effective in the treatment of influenza A or B and must be administered within 48 hours of symptom onset to provide optimal treatment. The sooner the drug is administered after symptom onset, the better the likelihood of a good outcome. However, some studies of treatment of seasonal influenza have indicated benefit, including reductions in mortality or duration of hospitalization even for patients whose treatment was started more than 48 hours after illness onset. [30] Antivirals reduce the length of illness by an average of 1.5 days. (In a subgroup of high-risk patients, illness was reduced by 2.5 d.) In addition, the severity of symptoms is also reduced.

On October 23, 2009, the FDA announced emergency-use authorization of the investigational intravenous neuraminidase inhibitor, peramivir. In an observational study of 31 patients, intravenous peramivir was administered to patients with progressive H1N1 pneumonia despite treatment with oseltamivir. [29] Peramivir was well-tolerated, and the 56-day survival rate was 59%. Further studies are necessary to evaluate the effectiveness of peramivir. To request peramivir, see the information at the CDC's H1N1 website or call (800) CDC-INFO (232-4636).

Oseltamivir (Tamiflu)

Inhibits neuraminidase, which is a glycoprotein on the surface of influenza virus that destroys an infected cell's receptor for viral hemagglutinin. By inhibiting viral neuraminidase, decreases release of viruses from infected cells and thus viral spread. Effective to treat influenza A or B. Start within 40 h of symptom onset. Available as 30-mg, 45-mg, and 75-mg oral capsules and as a powder for suspension that contains 12 mg/mL after reconstitution.

Zanamivir (Relenza)

Inhibitor of neuraminidase, which is a glycoprotein on the surface of the influenza virus that destroys the infected cell's receptor for viral hemagglutinin. By inhibiting viral neuraminidase, release of viruses from infected cells and viral spread are decreased. Effective against both influenza A and B. Inhaled through Diskhaler oral inhalation device. Circular foil discs containing 5-mg blisters of drug are inserted into supplied inhalation device.

Individuals with asthma or other respiratory conditions that may decrease ability to inhale the drug should be given oseltamivir (eg, asthma, pregnancy). Severe respiratory failure caused by H1N1 influenza has been reported in the southern hemisphere during July and August 2009; therefore, in severely ill patients, the ability to inhale zanamivir may be impaired.

Peramivir (investigational)

Investigational neuraminidase inhibitor. Emergency-use authorization issued by US FDA for use of peramivir in hospitalized adult and pediatric patients with suspected or laboratory-confirmed 2009 H1N1 influenza unresponsive to oseltamivir or zanamivir, unable to take PO or inhaled drugs (or delivery route not dependable or feasible), or other circumstances determined by clinician. To request peramivir, see information at www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/eua or call (800) CDC-INFO (232-4636).


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