CDC advises docs to prescribe Tamiflu, Relenza to fight flu

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is asking doctors not to prescribe two common generic antivirals, amantadine and rimantidine, during the 2005-2006 flu season because recent lab tests showed this winter's predominant flu strain is resistant to the drugs. The CDC has tested 120 influenza A (H3N2) virus isolates and found that 91% were resistant to amantadine and rimantadine. This represents a sharp increase from last year when only 11 percent of isolates tested were resistant and 1.9 percent were resistant the year before that. “This is certainly unexpected news as we now have to remove a few tools from our tool box that we use to combat influenza,” said Julie Gerberding, CDC director. The CDC is recommending Roche’s Tamiflu (oseltamivir) and GlaxoSmithKline’s Relenza (zanamivir) be prescribed if an antiviral medication is needed for the treatment or prevention of influenza.

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