At Friday’s CDC press briefing on 2009 H1N1 flu, Dr. Anne Schuchat stressed the importance of antiviral drugs for severe illness and directed clinicians to a fact sheet on “some of the myths and misconceptions about antivirals.”
Among the CDC’s “Quick Facts for Clinicians on Antiviral Treatments for 2009 H1N1″:
- Although initiating treatment within 48 hours of symptom onset is preferable, many patients (including those hospitalized or at high risk for severe illness) may still benefit if treatment is started later.
- While antivirals are advised for patients with heightened risk, even those without risk factors might benefit, making clinical judgment “essential.”
- If flu is suspected and treatment seems warranted, antivirals should be started before laboratory confirmation of illness.