Cochrane Summaries

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Antiviral treatment for influenza infection in people with cystic fibrosis

Jagannath VA, Asokan GV, Fedorowicz Z, Lee TWR
Published Online: 
10 February 2014

Cystic fibrosis is a genetic, life-threatening disorder affecting multiple organs. People with cystic fibrosis have a higher risk of chronic lung disease. Influenza can worsen the course of the disease in cystic fibrosis by increasing the risk of pneumonia and secondary respiratory complications. During a pandemic, flu symptoms may be more severe and complications more frequent. Severe cases of pandemic flu have occurred in people with underlying chronic conditions including people with CF. Although there is no evidence that people with CF are more likely to contract this infection than healthy people, the impact for them could be greater and the outcome worse as the lower respiratory tract is affected more often. Antiviral agents form an important part of influenza management and include the neuraminidase inhibitors zanamivir and oseltamivir. These drugs can limit the infection and prevent the spread of the virus. We did not find any trials to support or refute the use of neuraminidase inhibitors for influenza in people with cystic fibrosis. However, limited data from previous studies have shown that these drugs can be effective in healthy people and may be useful in high-risk populations if used rationally. However, the question of the safety and effectiveness of neuraminidase inhibitors for treating influenza in people with cystic fibrosis remains unanswered.

This record should be cited as: 
Jagannath VA, Asokan GV, Fedorowicz Z, Lee TWR. Neuraminidase inhibitors for the treatment of influenza infection in people with cystic fibrosis. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2014, Issue 2. Art. No.: CD008139. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD008139.pub3
Assessed as up to date: 
10 February 2014