Antivirals: Treatment, Prophylaxis and Pandemic Control
Influenza often presents to the primary-care physician several days into an illness that begins with fever, myalgia and cough. Patients, on their own or at the recommendation of their physician, may use paracetamol, aspirin or other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications for symptomatic relief. The symptoms of influenza might be regarded by the patient as a bacterial infection and the reason for a visit to the physician is often to obtain a prescription for antibiotics. This and/or inaccurate diagnosis of the disease (see
Clearly, vaccination remains the method of choice for influenza prophylaxis (see
Since M2 is not present in influenza B or C viruses, the M2 channel inhibitors are active only against influenza A. Their use has been limited by the occurrence of adverse side effects and the risk of induction of drug-resistant viral strains. The NAIs represent a novel class of anti-influenza drugs that are active against influenza A and B viruses; adverse effects are very limited and, thus far, significant development of resistant viral variants has not been reported for these drugs.