The following excerpt from Clinical Geriatrics – A Clinical Journal of the American Geriatrics Society discusses the use of anti-viral medications for the treatment of post-influenza exposure. This information is being shared for informational purposes and should not be viewed as an endorsement by HealthCap Risk Management.
Chemoprophylactic drugs are not a substitute for vaccination. However, effective secondary prevention of influenza with an antiviral agent is reported among at-risk elderly persons given chemoprophylaxis after a household member was diagnosed with influenza. The timing and duration of antiviral medications for chemoprophylaxis are weighed against cost, compliance, and potential side effects. The drug must be taken daily for the duration of influenza activity in the community to be maximally preventive.
When influenza is discovered in an institution, chemoprophylaxis should be administered to all residents, regardless of vaccination status, and should continue for a minimum of 2 weeks, as this strategy is known to be both clinically and cost-effective. If surveillance indicates that new cases continue to occur, chemoprophylaxis should be continued until approximately 1 week after the end of the outbreak.
The CDC published a Health Alert on January 17, 2006, reporting that 92% of influenza isolates (H3N2) in the United States had genetically (though not clinically) determined resistance to amantadine and rimantadine, and no longer recommends use of ion channel inhibitors (amantadine or rimantadine) for chemoprophylaxis. No resistance has yet been reported to zanamivir, and only 0.4% resistance has been reported to oseltamivir in adults.
Clinical Geriatrics – A Clinical Journal of the American Geriatrics Society
Update on Prevention and Treatment of Influenza in the Elderly
Volume 14 – Issue 10 – October 2006
Richard O. Schamp, MD, and William T. Manard, MD