May 1, 2009

May 1, 2009
Important Flu Update

Welcome to another day in my life. TGIF! It is Friday and am glad this week is over since I have not felt good all week. Still fighting stomach problems here but going to the doctor again next week.

Even though my stomach has been horrible, I had some errands I had to run today including taking Chipper to the groomer, mailing some Dab the AIDS Bears and pins to new donors in NYC and Tennessee then stopping by Publix to get some protein shake supplies (bananas, Slimfast) and yogurt. Luckily it was a beautiful sunny day outside.

Now anyone who has turned on the news or even television lately has heard about the swine flu which is currently traveling across our country. Here is the latest update:

Although normally this list is used solely to distribute information specifically related to HIV/AIDS, we are sending this important message regarding influenza because of the number of infectious disease professionals subscribed to the list for whom this information is important.

On April 26, the Acting Secretary of HHS declared a public health emergency related to the current outbreak of "swine flu" (now designated "novel 2009 H1N1"). In response to this public health emergency, the CDC requested Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for the use of Tamiflu and Relenza for treatment and prophylaxis of influenza for broader populations than are currently included in the product labeling, including pediatric populations, and others who fall outside of the indicated uses.

Influenza viruses cause serious, sometimes fatal, disease in immunocompromised patients, including HIV infected infants, toddlers, and young children.

Currently, Relenza is approved to treat acute uncomplicated illnesses due to influenza in adults and children 7 years and older who have been symptomatic for less than two days, and for the prevention of influenza in adults and children 5 years and older. Tamiflu is approved for the treatment and prevention of influenza in patients 1 year and older.

The EUAs allow for Tamiflu also to be used to treat and prevent influenza in children under 1 year, and to provide alternative dosing recommendations for children older than 1 year. In addition, under the EUAs, both medications may be distributed to large segments of the population without complying with the label requirements otherwise applicable to dispensed drugs, and accompanied by written information pertaining to the emergency use. They may also be distributed by a broader range of health care workers, including some public health officials and volunteers, in accordance with applicable state and local laws and/or public health emergency responses.

These temporary extensions of the indication, which will terminate when the emergency no longer exists, are summarized below:

1. Use of Tamiflu for treatment and prophylaxis of influenza in infants < 1 year of age. Tamiflu is currently approved for use in patients 1 year of age and older. New dosing recommendations in infants < 1 year were based on expedited review of safety and pharmacokinetic data submitted by Roche and the Collaborative Antiviral Study Group of NIAID/NIH. In addition, age-based dose recommendations in older children were included in these new recommendations.

The Tamiflu Oral Suspension bottle comes with a dispenser marked for 30, 45, or 60 mg. For children who weigh more than 40 kg (or 88 lbs) or adults who can’t swallow capsules, you will need to measure out a dose of 30 mg plus another dose of 45 mg. For infants less than 1 year old, a different measuring device must be used that will dispense 2 mL (about 25 mg), 1.6 mL (about 20 mg) or 1 mL (12 mg).

Doses for prevention of the novel 2009 H1N1 are the same for each weight group, but doses are administered only once per day rather than twice. Prevention dosages should be taken for 10 days following close contact with an infected person or during a community outbreak.

2. Use of Tamiflu and Relenza in patients not included in the current labeling. These drugs are currently indicated for use in patients with acute, uncomplicated influenza who have had symptoms for < 48 hours. The EUA allows for use of Tamiflu and Relenza in patients who have more severe influenza disease or who have been ill for longer than 48 hours based on limited published data and the understanding that the novel 2009 H1N1 may have different presentations. Depending on available products and susceptibility data, clinicians may wish to make individual risk-benefit assessments regarding the appropriate use of the products.

More detailed information about Influenza Antiviral Drugs is available on the FDA web site at

The TAMIFLU® FACT SHEET FOR HEALTH CARE PROVIDERS contains information specific to the expanded pediatric dosing recommendations for Tamiflu.

But the best way to avoid the swine flu or any flu is to stay home and away from public situations when flu conditions have been reported in your area.

Wishing you health, hope and happiness.

Big bear hug,

Daddy Dab