CDC says two common antivirals not helpful against this season's flu

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Doctors shouldn't bother prescribing two common antivirals to treat or prevent influenza during the 2005-2006 influenza season, according to a new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendation.

The predominant strain of influenza (H3N2) currently circulating in the United States is resistant to both amantadine and rimantadine.

But the CDC said that oseltamivir (marketed as Tamiflu) and zanamivir (sold as Relenza), other commonly used antivirals, remain effective against this season's flu. Amantadine and rimantadine are generic medicines used less often than the newer drugs. Because they are less expensive, they may be prescribed to nursing home patients during a flu outbreak to prevent infection.

Influenza activity is becoming more widespread across the U.S., according to the CDC, which recommends that individuals who have not been vaccinated yet do so, especially since it is unclear if the influenza has peaked yet.

For more on the issue, visit www.cdc.gov/flu.