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In some groups of people, having the flu can sometimes lead to serious complications such as pneumonia. Drugs like oseltamivir (trade name: Tamiflu) aim to prevent things from turning serious. But research has only shown that taking oseltamivir might make general flu symptoms go away a bit sooner.

Informed Health Online [Internet] - Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG).

Version: November 3, 2016

Oseltamivir and zanamivir have been stockpiled in many countries to treat and prevent seasonal and pandemic influenza, before an influenza vaccine matched to the circulating virus becomes available. Oseltamivir is classified by the World Health Organization as an essential medicine.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: 2018

The Norwegian Health Services Research Centre was during the spring 2004 asked by the Directorate for Health and Social Affairs to make an evaluation of the effect of oseltamivir (Tamiflu®) for the prevention and treatment of influenza during an influenza pandemic. A group of experts with experience in the field was constituted in May 2004 to assist the Norwegian Health Services Research Centre with this report.

Knowledge Centre for the Health Services at The Norwegian Institute of Public Health (NIPH).

Version: 2005

The study found that the neuraminidase inhibitors oseltamivir and zanamivir cause small reductions in the time to first alleviation of influenza symptoms in adults. Oseltamivir increases the risk of nausea, vomiting, psychiatric events in adults and vomiting in children and has no protective effect on mortality among patients with 2009A/H1N1 influenza.

Health Technology Assessment - NIHR Journals Library.

Version: May 2016

Influenza is an acute, febrile illness caused by infection of the respiratory system by the influenza virus. The illness is usually self-limiting in otherwise healthy people. In individuals considered to be at high risk, such as those aged over 65 years or having concomitant disease, it carries the risk of increased morbidity, potentially serious complications and mortality. A Health Technology Assessment of amantadine, oseltamivir and zanamivir for the prophylaxis of influenza was reported earlier by Turner and colleagues. Since that review, the marketing authorisation for zanamivir has been extended to include intervention in the prophylaxis of influenza as well as in its treatment. This report presents an updated assessment of new and existing evidence for the clinical effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of amantadine, oseltamivir and zanamivir in the prevention of influenza.

NIHR Health Technology Assessment programme: Executive Summaries - NIHR Journals Library.

Version: 2009

Influenza (true 'flu) is an infection of the airways caused by the Influenza group of viruses. Influenza occurs most commonly during winter months and can result in symptoms such as fever, cough, sore throat, headache, muscle aches and fatigue. These are usually self limiting but may persist for one to two weeks. The most common complications of influenza are secondary bacterial infections including otitis media (ear infections) and pneumonia. Influenza infection is also highly contagious and is spread from person‐to‐person by droplets produced when an infected individual coughs or sneezes.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: April 18, 2012

BACKGROUND: Oseltamivir is widely used for the treatment of influenza. Previous systematic reviews suggest that they reduce complications, but had significant methodologic limitations.

Database of Abstracts of Reviews of Effects (DARE): Quality-assessed Reviews [Internet] - Centre for Reviews and Dissemination (UK).

Version: 2013

In this meta-analysis, the authors review the results of studies on the efficacy of lianhuaqingwen capsule (LHQW-C) compared with oseltamivir in treating influenza A virus infection. The authors searched PubMed, Embase, Wanfang Data, and the China National Knowledge Infrastructure (CNKI) from the date of inception until December 31, 2012. The Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL) and the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (CDSR) were also searched. Five randomized, controlled trials were finally included and analyzed in this review. Compared with individuals treated with oseltamivir, this metaanalysis showed that participants treated with LHQW-C had a shorter duration of (1) fever, weighted mean difference (WMD) = -4.65 (95% CI, -8.91 to -0.38; P = .030); (2) cough, WMD = -9.79 (95% CI, -14.61 to -4.97; P < .0001); (3) sore throat, WMD = -13.01 (95% CI, -21.76 to -4.27; P = .004); and (4) body ache, WMD = -16.68 (95% CI, -32.33 to -1.03; P = .040). The review also found that the efficacy of the 2 treatments on viral shedding was similar with WMD = -0.24 (95% CI, -4.79 to 4.31; P = .920). The authors conclude that LHQW-C was superior to oseltamivir in improving the symptoms of influenza A virus infection.

Database of Abstracts of Reviews of Effects (DARE): Quality-assessed Reviews [Internet] - Centre for Reviews and Dissemination (UK).

Version: 2014

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the literature for published reports regarding the efficacy of standard versus higher dosing of oseltamivir in critically ill patients with severe influenza.

Database of Abstracts of Reviews of Effects (DARE): Quality-assessed Reviews [Internet] - Centre for Reviews and Dissemination (UK).

Version: 2014

This review concluded that amantadine, oseltamivir or zanamivir showed some efficacy for seasonal and post-exposure prophylaxis. The results of the review were limited by a paucity of good quality evidence. There was a possibility of error and bias in the review process, but the overall conclusion was likely to be reliable.

Database of Abstracts of Reviews of Effects (DARE): Quality-assessed Reviews [Internet] - Centre for Reviews and Dissemination (UK).

Version: 2009

BACKGROUND: Chinese herbs are thought to be effective for type A H1N1 influenza. Series of Chinese herbs have been authorized recommended by the Chinese government, and until now a number of clinical trials of Chinese herbs for H1N1 influenza have been conducted. However, there is no critically appraised evidence such as systematic reviews or meta-analyses on potential benefits and harms of medicinal herbs for H1N1 influenza to justify their clinical use and their recommendation.

Database of Abstracts of Reviews of Effects (DARE): Quality-assessed Reviews [Internet] - Centre for Reviews and Dissemination (UK).

Version: 2011

People often use the terms “flu” and “cold” interchangeably. The course of these two types of infections is very different, though. Whereas common colds develop slowly, the flu arises suddenly and is more severe. Read about the symptoms, the flu vaccine and treatment options.

Informed Health Online [Internet] - Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG).

Version: November 3, 2016

This generally well-conducted review found that antiviral drugs (oseltamivir and zanamivir) shortened the duration of illness in children with seasonal influenza and reduced transmission to other children in the household, although these effects were small. The conclusions appear to be reliable for seasonal influenza, but their applicability to H1N1 pandemic influenza is uncertain.

Database of Abstracts of Reviews of Effects (DARE): Quality-assessed Reviews [Internet] - Centre for Reviews and Dissemination (UK).

Version: 2009

This review evaluated oseltamivir and zanamivir for treatment of influenza virus A or B and amantadine and rimantadine for influenza A. The authors concluded that oral oseltamivir and inhaled zanamivir may provide benefits over no treatment. Their cautious conclusion of low confidence for decision-making seems to be reliable.

Database of Abstracts of Reviews of Effects (DARE): Quality-assessed Reviews [Internet] - Centre for Reviews and Dissemination (UK).

Version: 2012

This well-conducted review concluded that extended-duration zanamivir and oseltamivir chemoprophylaxis appeared highly effective in preventing symptomatic influenza among immunocompetent white and Japanese adults. Extended-duration oseltamivir was associated with increased nausea and vomiting. Although these conclusions accurately reflect the results of the review, their clinical significance is unclear.

Database of Abstracts of Reviews of Effects (DARE): Quality-assessed Reviews [Internet] - Centre for Reviews and Dissemination (UK).

Version: 2009

This review aims to update the 2010 Rapid Response report by summarizing the recent literature on the effectiveness of antivirals on influenza prophylaxis.

Rapid Response Report: Summary with Critical Appraisal - Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health.

Version: July 5, 2017

This study aimed to establish the clinical and cost-effectiveness of amantadine, oseltamivir and zanamivir for the treatment and prevention of influenza. The preventative strategies considered were amantadine, oseltamivir, zanamivir and vaccine, compared with no intervention. Vaccine was considered both on its own and in combination with amantadine, oseltamivir and zanamivir. The treatment strategies addressed were amantadine, oseltamivir and zanamivir compared with standard care. Four patient groups were considered: (i) children (aged ≤12 years); (ii) healthy adults (aged 12-65 years); (iii) 'high-risk' (aged ≥65 years and/or with concomitant disease); and (iv) elderly residential population.

NIHR Health Technology Assessment programme: Executive Summaries - NIHR Journals Library.

Version: 2003

As recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO), oseltamivir (Tamiflu) is currently used for people with influenza A. In previous pandemics, the virus was susceptible to amantadine and rimantadine. If they are safe and the circulating strain proves to be susceptible to these drugs, they could be an alternative for managing influenza. We therefore wanted to answer the question of whether or not amantadine and rimantadine can prevent and treat influenza A in children and the elderly.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: November 21, 2014

In most years healthy people are unlikely to get the flu (“influenza”), regardless of whether they have been vaccinated. Vaccination can reduce the risk of getting influenza by half or more, though. This can make a big difference in years when the risk of infection is high.

Informed Health Online [Internet] - Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG).

Version: November 3, 2016

The influenza virus causes an acute, febrile, respiratory illness. Outbreaks follow a seasonal pattern, concentrated in winter, and vary in distribution and severity between years. Symptoms include fever, cough, nasal congestion, headache, sore throat, fatigue, and joint and muscle aches. In otherwise healthy people, symptoms are usually self-limiting. However, in vulnerable people, such as the elderly, chronically ill or immunocompromised, the illness may be prolonged and the development of serious complications more common. In England and Wales, influenza is thought to be responsible for over 10,000 deaths from respiratory disease annually.

NIHR Health Technology Assessment programme: Executive Summaries - NIHR Journals Library.

Version: 2009

Systematic Reviews in PubMed

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