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Expert Opin Pharmacother. 2011 Jul;12(10):1523-49. doi: 10.1517/14656566.2011.566557. Epub 2011 Mar 26.

Influenza pharmacotherapy: present situation, strategies and hopes.

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Emeritus of Pharmacology, Catholic University School of Medicine, Institute of Pharmacology, Largo Francesco Vito, 1 00168 Rome, Italy.



Influenza is a serious health threat for people of all ages. The causative virus is evolving continuously and the risk of an unexpected mutant, which cannot be controlled by seasonal vaccination, is real. New and more effective antiviral drugs are needed.


This review examines the antiviral drugs with confirmed efficacy in combating influenza, as well as newer compounds that are currently undergoing testing and will hopefully be marketed in the near future. A comprehensive, state-of-the-art picture of drug therapy for influenza is presented, including novel solutions and effective strategies for prescribing currently available antiviral drugs, with emphasis on the importance of updated local epidemiological data, clinical assessment and laboratory testing.


Current anti-influenza drug research is no longer tied solely to viral envelope protein targets like haemagglutinin and neuraminidase. New drugs act on the viral RNA polymerase complex, which is involved in transcription and replication of the viral genome, and can prevent the maturation, replication and dissemination of numerous viral subtypes. Combating this infection and reducing the duration of symptoms also has important socioeconomic implications related to health-care spending (including hospitalization for complications) and sick-leave pay for workers.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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