29. September 2010 16:41
Tamiflu (oseltamivir) may have protected patients from developing pneumonia during the 2009 swine flu pandemic, a study of cases in China has demonstrated.
The research, published on bmj.com, shows that treatment with Tamiflu was also associated with a shorter duration of fever and viral RNA shedding.
Researchers reviewed the medical records of 1,291 patients in China with laboratory confirmed mild H1N1 infection during the 2009 pandemic. Three quarters (76%) were treated with Tamiflu from a median of the third day of symptoms.
Out of the 920 patients who had a chest x-ray, a minority (12%) had abnormal findings consistent with pneumonia and Tamiflu was identified as a significant protective factor.
However, the authors stress that these findings should be interpreted with caution, due to “the retrospective design of this work and the fact that not all patients underwent a chest x-ray”.
They call for continued investigation into the effectiveness of antiviral treatment “to allow for improvement both in clinical treatment and public health guidance”.