Announcement Date: March 3, 2015
“Since 1999 a large and growing body of observational data, including in hospitalized patients, shows there are benefits to using antiviral drugs beyond the treatment of uncomplicated illness. In medical practice, these drugs have been documented to reduce serious flu complications”. This connects with an earlier statement by CDC Director Dr Thomas Frieden “Antiviral flu medicines are underutilized. If you get them early, they could keep you out of the hospital and might even save your life.”
Why CDC Recommends Influenza Antiviral Drugs
The 2014-2015 flu season has been a difficult one for a number of reasons, including circulation of H3N2 viruses which are typically associated with more severe flu seasons, and reduced vaccine effectiveness because circulating H3N2 viruses are different or have “drifted” from the H3N2 virus used to make vaccine. A number of media and online outlets have inquired about the public health rationale behind CDC’s influenza antiviral recommendations. This statement provides background information and explains the rationale for CDC’s influenza antiviral recommendations.
Getting a flu vaccine is the best way to prevent influenza illness and protect against its potentially deadly consequences. When a person is sick with flu, however, antiviral flu drugs are a treatment option. They work best when taken within 48 hours of becoming sick.
Transcript for CDC Telebriefing: Update on Flu Season 2014-15
Press Briefing Transcript Friday, January 9, 2014 at 12:00 E.T.
Cochrane review not cited: statements are made on the basis of industry funded studies which are referenced in the first document.