Neuraminidase inhibitors for the treatment and prevention of influenza.Expert Opin Pharmacother 2002; 3(2):103-12EO
The impact of influenza virus infection is estimated to run into billions of dollars worldwide. Vaccination plays a key role in prevention; however, vaccines do not provide complete protection against influenza due to the constant mutation of the virus responsible. Unlike amantadine and rimantadine, which are only effective against influenza A, the new neuraminidase inhibitors zanamivir (Relenza), GlaxoSmithKline) and oseltamivir (Tamiflu), Gilead/Roche) are potent and specific inhibitors of influenza types A and B and have minimal side effects. The greatest benefit is derived if treatment commences as soon as possible after symptoms develop. In order for these inhibitors to have a significant impact on the disease, clinicians and the general public need to be made more aware of the symptoms of influenza and the availability of these new drugs.