NHS moves to maintain antiviral supply for infants

Officials have stepped up efforts to ensure supplies of liquid antivirals do not run out after cases of flu soared among infants.

Chief Pharmaceutical Officer Dr Keith Ridge said the NHS had stepped up efforts to ensure liquid forms of the antiviral drugs Tamiflu and Oseltamivir were available for the treatment or prophylaxis of flu.

Dr Ridge advised GPs and other health professionals to continue to prescribe tablet forms of antiviral drugs where possible to avoid shortages of the liquid forms.

Tamiflu manufacturer Roche has stepped up orders for the suspension form of the drug (12mg/ml). NHS hospital pharmacies will now begin manufacturing Oseltamivir 15mg/ml Oral Solution.

For children over 1 year old who cannot swallow the antiviral capsules, GPs should prescribe the appropriate capsule strength and instruct parents to open the capsule and add the contents to food at the time of administration.

Tamiflu is not licensed for use in children under 1 year old and Oseltamivir 15mg/ml Oral Solution remains unlicensed.

Dr Ridge said prescription of Oseltamivir for this age group was at the clinician’s discretion. The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health has supported of the use of Oseltamivir in children, however.

He added that it is preferable to use the licensed Tamiflu 12mg/ml Oral Suspension rather than either unlicensed Oseltamivir 15mg/ml Oral Solution or solution prepared from Tamiflu capsules by a pharmacy.

Roche is expecting further supplies of Tamiflu 12mg/ml Oral Suspension to be available in the country during January.

  • Click here for the full letter containing details of the dosage regime for this age group.

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