When should antiviral drugs be administered in the treatment of influenza?

Updated: Aug 07, 2020
  • Author: Hien H Nguyen, MD, MS; Chief Editor: Michael Stuart Bronze, MD  more...
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To be effective as treatment, these agents must be administered within 48 hours of symptom onset. These agents are most effective if started within the first 24 hours of symptoms and less effective if begun 24-48 hours after symptoms appear. For critically ill patients with H5N1 infection, evidence suggests that initiation of oseltamivir therapy up to 6-8 days from onset of symptoms may reduce mortality. [77] Studies also demonstrate the efficacy of these agents in preventing influenza A and B. For acute treatment, these agents are given twice daily for 5 days. For prevention, they are given once daily for 10 days.

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