Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Antivirals underprescribed for patients at risk for flu complications, study shows

Date:
July 17, 2014
Source:
Infectious Diseases Society of America
Summary:
Patients likely to benefit the most from antiviral therapy for influenza were prescribed antiviral drugs infrequently during the 2012-2013 influenza season, while antibiotics may have been overprescribed. The findings of this study suggest more efforts are needed to educate clinicians about the appropriate use of antivirals and antibiotics in the outpatient setting.

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.

Related Articles


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."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Infectious Diseases Society of America. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. F. Havers, S. Thaker, J. R. Clippard, M. Jackson, H. Q. McLean, M. Gaglani, A. S. Monto, R. K. Zimmerman, L. Jackson, J. G. Petrie, M. P. Nowalk, K. K. Moehling, B. Flannery, M. G. Thompson, A. M. Fry. Use of Influenza Antiviral Agents by Ambulatory Care Clinicians During the 2012-2013 Influenza Season. Clinical Infectious Diseases, 2014; DOI: 10.1093/cid/ciu422

Cite This Page:

Infectious Diseases Society of America. "Antivirals underprescribed for patients at risk for flu complications, study shows." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 July 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140717094943.htm>.
Infectious Diseases Society of America. (2014, July 17). Antivirals underprescribed for patients at risk for flu complications, study shows. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140717094943.htm
Infectious Diseases Society of America. "Antivirals underprescribed for patients at risk for flu complications, study shows." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140717094943.htm (accessed October 30, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Fauci Says Ebola Risk in US "essentially Zero"

Fauci Says Ebola Risk in US "essentially Zero"

AP (Oct. 30, 2014) NIAID Director Anthony Fauci said the risk of Ebola becoming an epidemic in the U.S. is essentially zero Thursday at the Washington Ideas Forum. He also said an Ebola vaccine will be tested in West Africa in the next few months. (Oct. 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Nurse Defies Ebola Quarantine With Bike Ride

Nurse Defies Ebola Quarantine With Bike Ride

AP (Oct. 30, 2014) A nurse who vowed to defy Maine's voluntary quarantine for health care workers who treated Ebola patients followed through on her promise Thursday, leaving her home for an hour-long bike ride. (Oct. 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Pot-Infused Edibles Raise Concerns in Colorado

Pot-Infused Edibles Raise Concerns in Colorado

AFP (Oct. 30, 2014) Colorado may have legalized marijuana for recreational use, but the debate around the decision still continues, with a recent - failed - attempt to ban cannabis-infused edibles. Duration: 01:53 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
British Navy Ship Arrives in Sierra Leone With Ebola Aid

British Navy Ship Arrives in Sierra Leone With Ebola Aid

AFP (Oct. 30, 2014) The British ship RFA ARGUS arrived in Sierra Leone to deliver supplies and equipment to help the fight against Ebola. Duration: 00:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins