CDC issues physician guidance on flu antiviral amid supply issues

In response to reports of shortages, the CDC issued interim guidance Dec. 14 recommending physicians prioritize flu patients at the highest risk of severe disease when treating with the antiviral oseltamivir. 

"While the FDA has not indicated shortages of oseltamivir (generic or Tamiflu) in any of its forms, CDC has received numerous anecdotal reports of availability issues for generic oseltamivir in some locations," the agency said in its health alert.

The antiviral treatment should be prioritized for patients who are hospitalized and at highest risk of severe disease when there is limited availability, according to the interim guidance. If oseltamivir is unavailable, the guidance says Tamiflu — the brand-name version of oseltamivir — oral baloxavir, inhaled zanamivir or intravenous peramivir can be used for early treatment of flu patients who are at increased risk of complications. 

While the FDA hasn't listed the flu antivirals on its drug shortage database, the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists indicated five drugmakers were short on oseltamivir earlier this month. 

View the full interim guidance here

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