Antivirals backed for pregnancy

Pregnant women are at high risk from swine flu and should be treated with antivirals if exposed to the H1N1 virus, Japanese research shows.

The risk of morbidity from influenza is higher in pregnant women and mortality rates have been higher in this group in past pandemics. Increased risk should be taken into account when caring for affected patients, the researchers say.

Safety data on the use of antivirals in pregnancy is limited, and the drugs are not licensed for use in pregnant women.

But analysis of data from two Japanese teratogen information services on 90 pregnant women who took oseltamivir during the first trimester found no evidence of increased risk of malformation.

HPA guidance on treatment for suspected H1N1 flu states the benefits of antiviral treatment outweigh the risks.

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