1. Section Editor(s): Kennedy, Maureen Shawn MA, RN

Article Content

Treating children with common antiviral drugs for influenza confers few benefits, according to a report in the August 10 issue of BMJ. A metaanalysis of seven studies involving children younger than age 12 concludes that the antivirals oseltamivir (Tamiflu) and zanamivir (Relenza) shorten the duration of flu symptoms by only a half a day to a day and a half and do little to prevent complications such as asthma exacerbations or ear infections. Nor do they significantly lower the rate of antibiotic administration. Tamiflu also may cause vomiting in a small number of pediatric patients. Some studies included children infected with type A influenza, although none involved the pandemic (H1N1) 2009 (swine flu) strain, leading the authors to write, "It is difficult to know the extent to which these findings can be generalized to children in the current pandemic."