Oseltamivir: A New Option for the Management of Influenza in Children

Marcia L. Buck, Pharm.D., FCCP

Pediatr Pharm. 2001;7(2) 

In This Article


It is estimated that influenza causes 18-20 million cases of respiratory illness each year in the United States. The majority of these infections, approximately 13 to 16 million, occur in children and adolescents.[1] Infants and children with underlying respiratory and cardiovascular disease are at greatest risk from complications related to influenza infection.[2,3] Until recently, there were few therapies to offer patients with influenza. Amantadine and rimantidine were effective only against influenza A and frequently caused adverse effects. In 1999, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the use of zanamivir and oseltamivir, two drugs in a new therapeutic class called neuraminidase inhibitors, for influenza infection. In their first two seasons of use, these agents have had a substantial impact on the management of influenza in adults.

Oseltamivir was initially approved by the FDA for the prevention and treatment of influenza in adults and children greater than 13 years of age. In December 2000, oseltamivir gained additional FDA approval for treatment of influenza in children greater than 1 year of age.[4,5] Zanamivir is currently under investigation in children.[6] This issue of Pediatric Pharmacotherapy will review the efficacy of oseltamivir in adults and children, describe its pharmacokinetics and adverse effects, and provide pediatric dosing recommendations.


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