Study: Antivirals like Tamiflu, Relenza reduce deaths among children critically ill with the flu

ELK GROVE VILLAGE, Ill. — Treatment of influenza with such antiviral medicines as Tamiflu and Relenza may improve survival rates in children, according to a study published on Nov. 25 in Pediatrics

Researchers from the California Department of Public Health analyzed data abstracted from medical records to characterize the outcomes of pediatric patients hospitalized with the flu between April 3, 2009 and September 30, 2012. 

Researchers reviewed the case of 784 children hospitalized by the flu. They found that cases of patients who had antiviral treatment initiated earlier in their illness were less likely to die. 

"Prompt treatment with [antivirals] may improve survival of children critically ill with influenza," the researchers concluded. "Recent decreased frequency of [antiviral] treatment of influenza may be placing untreated critically ill children at an increased risk of death."