Antiviral dispensing reflects CDC guidelines

Antiviral prescriptions by clinicians have met guidelines set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention over the last decade, according to two new studies on antiviral dispensing.

The changes to CDC guidance on antivirals have been made as a result of antiviral resistance and a focus on protecting patients considered high risk, particularly during the 2009 H1N1 pandemic. Both studies were published in Influenza and Other Respiratory Diseases and compared CDC surveillance data with prescribing databases, CIDRAP News reports.

The first study tracked antiviral medication dispensing from January 2000 through June 2010. After resistance to adamantanes was found in 2006 and resistance to oseltamivir was found in 2008-09, the CDC made recommendations to stop their use. Researchers from eight Vaccine Safety Datalink Project medical care organizations found that antiviral use reflected the alterations in CDC guidelines.

The second study focused on the time period between April 2009 and April 2010 and on four prescribed antivirals. The research, conducted by U.S. Food and Drug Administration researchers, saw a 30-fold increase in oseltamivir prescriptions and a nine-fold increase in zanamivir prescriptions after the pandemic virus came about and a national public health emergency was declared, according to CIDRAP News.

According to the researchers, monitoring prescriptions during a pandemic provided insights into the possibility of shortages, such as the one that occurred with the suspension of pediatric oseltamivir.