ANCHOR LEAD: ANTIVIRAL DRUGS SHOULD BE RESTRICTED TO THOSE WHO REALLY NEED THEM, ELIZABETH TRACEY REPORTS
People infected with H1N1 and who aren’t at risk for developing severe symptoms or respiratory distress because of an underlying medical condition don’t need Tamiflu or other antiviral medications, a study in the British Medical Journal concludes. David Thomas, chief of infectious disease at Johns Hopkins, concurs.
THOMAS: I think that for the time being, the recommendation that persons who are not at risk for getting severe influenza and are not experiencing severe symptoms remain at home and follow their common sense advice about limiting exposure to other individuals and staying out of the workplace and trying to protect their own family members, those guidelines remain, or are actually underscored, by the results of that meta-analysis. :29
Thomas says that as with any medication used to combat bacteria or viruses, the risk of too many people using the drug is the certainty that resistant strains will develop much more quickly. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.