Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Findings suggest antivirals underprescribed for patients at risk for flu complications

17.07.2014

Study also shows that antibiotics may have been prescribed unnecessarily

Patients likely to benefit the most from antiviral therapy for influenza were prescribed these drugs infrequently during the 2012-2013 influenza season, while antibiotics may have been overprescribed.

Published in Clinical Infectious Diseases and now available online, the findings suggest more efforts are needed to educate clinicians about the appropriate use of antivirals and antibiotics in the outpatient setting.

Influenza is a significant cause of mortality and morbidity, resulting in more than 200,000 hospitalizations in the U.S. each year, on average.

While annual vaccination remains the best defense, current recommendations advise prompt antiviral treatment for high-risk patients with influenza, including those who are hospitalized, who have severe influenza illness, or who are at higher risk for complications.

In their study, Fiona Havers, MD, MHS, and a team from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and several other institutions analyzed data for approximately 6,800 patients with acute respiratory illness who were seen at five outpatient care centers in Washington state, Wisconsin, Texas, Michigan, and Pennsylvania.

The researchers examined prescription records for two influenza antiviral drugs (oseltamivir and zanamivir) and three common antibiotics (amoxicillin-clavulanate, amoxicillin, and azithromycin).

Overall, only 19 percent of the patients at high risk for influenza-associated complications who saw a primary-care provider within two days of the onset of their symptoms received antiviral treatment. Among patients with laboratory-confirmed influenza, just 16 percent were prescribed antivirals. In contrast, 30 percent of these patients received one of the three antibiotics.

"Our results suggest that during 2012-'13, antiviral medications were underprescribed and antibiotics may have been inappropriately prescribed to a large proportion of outpatients with influenza," the authors wrote. "Continuing education on appropriate antibiotic and antiviral use is essential to improve health care quality."

While some of the antibiotics may have been appropriate for bacterial infections secondary to influenza, which is caused by a virus, it is likely most were unnecessary, potentially contributing to the growing problem of antibiotic resistance, the authors noted.

In a related editorial, Michael G. Ison, MD, MS, Medical Director of the Transplant & Immunocompromised Host Infectious Diseases Service for Northwestern Medicine and associate professor of Infectious Diseases and Organ Transplantation at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, noted additional benefits associated with antiviral therapy for influenza, including reductions in lower respiratory infections, hospitalizations, antibiotic use, and stroke risk.

This latest study "demonstrates that we are clearly failing our patients by not providing antiviral therapy to patients with influenza consistent with current guidelines while exposing many of the patients to antibiotics from which they likely derive little benefit."

Fast Facts

  1. Influenza is a significant cause of mortality and morbidity, resulting in more than 200,000 hospitalizations in the U.S. each year, on average.
  2. Annual vaccination remains the best defense against influenza; prompt treatment with antiviral drugs is recommended for high-risk patients.
  3. This study suggests antivirals were underprescribed in the outpatient setting during the 2013-2013 influenza season for patients at high risk for influenza-related complications, while antibiotics may have been overprescribed.

Jerica Pitts | Eurek Alert!

Further reports about: Infectious Influenza Medicine antibiotic antibiotics antiviral drugs flu illness morbidity risk therapy vaccination

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Research investigates whether solar events could trigger birth defects on Earth
21.07.2015 | University of Kansas

nachricht Accounting for short-lived forcers in carbon budgets
15.07.2015 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: On the crest of the wave: Electronics on a time scale shorter than a cycle of light

Physicists from Regensburg and Marburg, Germany have succeeded in taking a slow-motion movie of speeding electrons in a solid driven by a strong light wave. In the process, they have unraveled a novel quantum phenomenon, which will be reported in the forthcoming edition of Nature.

The advent of ever faster electronics featuring clock rates up to the multiple-gigahertz range has revolutionized our day-to-day life. Researchers and...

Im Focus: Superfast fluorescence sets new speed record

Plasmonic device has speed and efficiency to serve optical computers

Researchers have developed an ultrafast light-emitting device that can flip on and off 90 billion times a second and could form the basis of optical computing.

Im Focus: Unlocking the rice immune system

Joint BioEnergy Institute study identifies bacterial protein that is key to protecting rice against bacterial blight

A bacterial signal that when recognized by rice plants enables the plants to resist a devastating blight disease has been identified by a multi-national team...

Im Focus: Smarter window materials can control light and energy

Researchers in the Cockrell School of Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin are one step closer to delivering smart windows with a new level of energy efficiency, engineering materials that allow windows to reveal light without transferring heat and, conversely, to block light while allowing heat transmission, as described in two new research papers.

By allowing indoor occupants to more precisely control the energy and sunlight passing through a window, the new materials could significantly reduce costs for...

Im Focus: Simulations lead to design of near-frictionless material

Argonne scientists used Mira to identify and improve a new mechanism for eliminating friction, which fed into the development of a hybrid material that exhibited superlubricity at the macroscale for the first time. Argonne Leadership Computing Facility (ALCF) researchers helped enable the groundbreaking simulations by overcoming a performance bottleneck that doubled the speed of the team's code.

While reviewing the simulation results of a promising new lubricant material, Argonne researcher Sanket Deshmukh stumbled upon a phenomenon that had never been...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

3rd Euro Bio-inspired - International Conference and Exhibition on Bio-inspired Materials

23.07.2015 | Event News

Clash of Realities – International Conference on the Art, Technology and Theory of Digital Games

10.07.2015 | Event News

World Conference on Regenerative Medicine in Leipzig: Last chance to submit abstracts until 2 July

25.06.2015 | Event News

 
Latest News

Roentgen prize goes to Dr Eleftherios Goulielmakis

30.07.2015 | Awards Funding

Intracellular microlasers could allow precise labeling of a trillion individual cells

30.07.2015 | Life Sciences

Real-time imaging of lung lesions during surgery helps localize tumors and improve precision

30.07.2015 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>