Tamiflu shows effectiveness in infants

German researchers have announced that Tamiflu given to infants hospitalized with influenza had similar benefits to those in older children, though mild gastrointestinal symptoms were a common side effect.

This latest research, reported by CIDRAP News, stemmed from a retrospective review of 157 babies hospitalized with seasonal influenza infections through five flu seasons - 2003 through 2007 - at a German teaching hospital.

The findings, reported in the June issue of Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal, were based on infants who were confirmed to have the flu by rapid influenza testing. All of the infants were administered oseltamivir within 48 hours of the onset of symptoms. The drug was administered twice daily for five days.

Symptoms the children did not have upon entering the hospital were observed in half of the infants, including vomiting and mild diarrhea. Eleven of the infants displayed gastrointestinal infections.

Approximately 82 percent of the patients receiving oseltamivir within 24 hours of symptom onset saw body temperatures decrease to 100.4 degrees or below within 36 hours of administration. Body temperature dropped in eight other patients within 48 hours.

The findings, CIDRAP reports, were comparable to those in children older than one year.

Additionally, a greater risk of central nervous system disorders was not discovered, which had been a problem that some Japanese studies had suggested.