According to a systematic review , oseltamivir is safe and effective for treating children with influenza. The treatment with oseltamivir significantly reduced the duration of illness in children with influenza, the reviewers found.
"Oseltamivir should be used in treating children who have severe manifestation of influenza," said Dr. Arnold S. Monto from the University of Michigan School of Public Health in Ann Arbor.
"It is effective, especially when given early and because of potential severity. It has been studied and is approved in children down to 2 weeks of age, "I added.
Oseltamivir has been shown to be safe and effective in adults with influenza, but some have expressed safety concerns regarding its use in children.
Following a systematic review of the literature, Dr. Monto's team undertook a meta-analysis of five randomized controlled trials (2,561 participants, 1,598 with laboratory-confirmed influenza infection).
The trials were conducted to estimate the efficacy of timely oseltamivir treatment for uncomplicated influenza in children <18 years old in the outpatient setting, compared with placebo.
Oseltamivir treatment reduced the duration of the illness by a mean of 17.6 hours in the total population, compared with placebo.
Amongst children with confirmed infection, oseltamivir treatment was associated with a significant 34% reduction in the risk of developing otitis media, but no significant reduction in lower-respiratory-tract complications.
Children treated with oseltamivir were 63% more likely to experience vomiting , but there was no evidence of increased risk of nausea, diarrhea, or severe adverse events, compared with placebo.
In pooled analyzes, duration of illness was reduced to a greater extent among children who received treatment within 24 hours of symptom development, and the largest reduction in the duration of illness was seen among adolescents (ages 12-17).
Dr. Flor M. Munoz from Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children's Hospital, in Houston, said, "Current Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and AAP treatment recommendations are supported by the studies reviewed in this meta-analysis. important to note that these effects are most evident in children who are otherwise healthy (not asthma), who are not offered treatment, however, just by virtue of age (<5 years), children are at higher risk for influenza. "
These results "provide reassurance for most practitioners who might be confused with 'controversies' being raised by some who are not convinced of the efficacy of neuraminidase inhibitors," she added.