Srinagar, Jan 11: Mentioning antivirals as important countermeasures against influenza, Doctors Association Kashmir (DAK) today urged doctors to prescribe antiviral drugs to flu patients.
Terming them as critical tool to combat influenza, President DAK and flu expert Dr Nisar ul Hassan in a statement said that early use of antiviral medicines provide life saving benefits to flu patients.
Clinicians should prescribe antiviral drugs to influenza patients as early as possible and should not wait for the results of testing.
Antiviral treatment is recommended for any patient with confirmed or suspected influenza who is hospitalized or has severe progressive illness and for outpatients who are at risk for developing complications from influenza.
Clinical trials and observational data show that early antiviral treatment shortens the duration of illness and reduces the risk of complications.
Early treatment of hospitalized patients can reduce death and can shorten the duration of hospitalization.
A large meta-analysis conducted across 38 countries and involving more than 29,000 patients showed that early treatment with antivirals reduced the risk of death by 60%.
Antiviral flu medications save lives but they are unfortunately underprescribed.
Clinicians commonly underprescribe antivirals and potentially overprescribe antibiotics to patients with influenza for whom antiviral therapy would have been most beneficial.
Prescribing antibiotics for influenza is not only inappropriate but also puts patients at risk for allergic reactions and antibiotic-resistant infections.
Antibiotics do not have activity against viruses and clinicians must know that antiviral drugs work and work efficiently.
During previous flu season majority of flu patients were prescribed unnecessary antibiotics instead of antivirals and this treatment practice was responsible for poor outcomes of influenza patients.
In view of unpredictability of the virus and questionable efficacy of current vaccine, antiviral drugs become an important weapon to fight this season’s flu which is shaping up to be harsh.
2015 Kashmir Despatch