(HealthDay News) – In children critically ill with influenza, prompt treatment with neuraminidase inhibitors (NAIs) may improve survival, according to research published online Nov. 25 in Pediatrics.

Janice K. Louie, MD, MPH, of the California Department of Public Health in Richmond, and colleagues analyzed data from 784 patients, aged 0–17 years, hospitalized in intensive care units with laboratory-confirmed influenza from April 2009 through September 2012. The authors sought to assess the effects of NAI treatment on survival.

The researchers found that significantly more children received NAI therapy during the 2009 H1N1 pandemic (90%) than in the post-pandemic period (63%). Among children who received NAI therapy, 38 of 653 cases (6%) died, compared to 11 of 131 cases (8%) of children who did not receive treatment (odds ratio [OR], 0.67; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.34–1.36). In a multivariate model that included factors associated with disease severity, such as need for mechanical ventilation, the estimated risk of death was lower in children receiving NAI therapy (OR, 0.36; 95% CI, 0.16–0.83). NAI treatment within 48 hours of onset of illness was significantly associated with survival (P=0.04).

“Prompt treatment with NAIs may improve survival of children critically ill with influenza,” the authors write.

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