Early oseltamivir linked to better flu outcomes in children

September 30, 2022

1 minute read

Disclosures:
Walsh does not report any relevant financial information. Please see the study for relevant financial information from all other authors.


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According to the results of a large study published in JAMA Pediatrics.

Co-author Patrick S. Walsh, MD, MSof the Division of Emergency Medicine at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, told Healio that the inspiration for the study came during his fellowship.

Early use of oseltamivir has been associated with better outcomes for children with influenza. Source: Adobe Stock

“At the time, we were starting flu season, and I was looking at recommendations for the drug oseltamivir to be given to most of the patients we treat, and honestly, I was questioning the evidence a bit,” said Walsh. “We noticed there [weren’t] a lot of existing data in the context of pediatric hospitalization.

Walsh and colleagues used the Pediatric Health Information System to find 55,799 influenza-associated pediatric encounters with oseltamivir at 36 different hospitals, from 2007 to 2020. Of the total encounters, 33,207 of patients (59.5%) received oseltamivir at the start of their hospitalization. .

“We looked at findings that we thought were logical and important to the proposed mechanism of action,” Walsh said. “These included length of stays, readmission rates within 7 days of discharge, transfers to intensive care after initially being on a regular hospital floor, and then a composite outcome of death, which would be in some our marker of critical treatment failure.”

Children who received oseltamivir early had shorter hospital stays (3 days versus 4 days) and a lower likelihood of readmission within 7 days (3.4% versus 4.8%), late transfer to intensive care (2.4% versus 5.4%) and mortality in hospital or use of extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (0.9% versus 1.3%) compared to children not treated with oseltamivir early.

“The slightly improved results for all of our secondary outcomes also surprised me a bit,” Walsh said.

He cautioned that the data came from an observational trial rather than a randomized clinical trial.

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