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    Tuesday, 16 January 2018 13:25
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  Don Lavoie is alcohol programme manager at Public Health England and Gul Root is lead...
Don Lavoie is alcohol programme manager at Public Health England and Gul Root is lead pharmacist, Health and Wellbeing Directorate, Public Health England
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a man ill fever bedDecember 21 2017

The Department of Health has announced GPs and other prescribers can now prescribe antiviral medication for flu prophylaxis and treatment.

A Central Alerting System (CAS) notice sent out on December 19 says that “with surveillance data indicating an increase in influenza cases in the community, GPs and other prescribers working in primary care may now prescribe antiviral medicines for the prophylaxis and treatment of influenza at NHS expense.”

The guidance relates to the antivirals oseltamivir (Tamiflu) and zanamivir (Relenza). Further guidance is given by Public Health England on the use of antivirals in seasonal flu.

PSNC says: “Prescribers may prescribe for patients in ‘clinical at-risk’ groups as well as those who are at risk of severe illness and/or compilations from flu if not treated, in accordance with the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence’s guidance and the Selected List Scheme (SLS) in Part XVIIIB of the England and Wales Drug Tariff.”

An accompanying Chief Medical Officer alert letter states: “It is important that adults and children start taking oseltamivir within 48 hours of onset of symptoms. For zanamivir, treatment should begin within 48 hours of onset of symptoms for adults and within 36 hours of onset of symptoms for children who are 5 years of age or over.”

PSNC has endorsed the CMO request that pharmacies order stock only as needed, as overordering could result in shortages in the supply chain.

Links:
Central Alerting System notice   
‘PHE guidance on use of antiviral agents for the treatment and prophylaxis of seasonal influenza Version 8.0, September 2017’                   
PSNC statement                  

 

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