Inhaled Zanamivir (Relenza) for Anti-Influenza Drug Stockpiling Available to 50 States, DC, and 8 other Jurisdictions at Subsidized Cost.
On 20 July the
The overall HHS
goal is to stockpile enough anti-influenza medications (including the oral drug
oseltamivir (“Tamiflu”) and the inhaled drug Zanamivir (“Relenza”)) to
stockpile for 25% of the
On March 29, 2006 the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA)announced approval of inhaled Zanamivir (Relenza) for prophylaxis (prevention) of influenza A and B for children 5 years of age and older. This drug had previously been FDA-licensed for treatment of actual influenza illness.
Due to severe and sometimes fatal respiratory side effects of the drug in persons with underlying lung disease, Zanamivir is NOT recommended for treatment or prophylaxis of seasonal influenza in persons with lung diseases such as asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary (lung) disease (COPD).
Of note, influenza viruses that are resistant to the other neuraminidase inhibitor drug oseltamivir (“Tamiflu”) are still susceptible to Zanamivir (“Relenza”). This fact could become important as increasing amounts of “Tamiflu” are used around the world due to high rates of resistance emerging now among influenza viruses (such as H3N2, H1N1, and H5N1) to the older anti-flu drugs “amantadine” and “rimantadine”.
Daniel R. Lucey, MD, MPH
Director, Center for Biologic Counterterrorism and Emerging Diseases
Professor of Microbiology and Immunology,
Website: www.BePast.org email: Daniel.R.Lucey@Medstar.net