Oseltamivir prophylaxis during the influenza season
in a paediatric cancer centre: prospective observational study
KW Chik, CK Li, PKS Chan,
MMK Shing, V Lee, JSL Tam, PMP Yuen
Department of Paediatrics,
The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Prince of Wales Hospital, Shatin,
OBJECTIVES. To determine the role of oseltamivir
prophylaxis for immunocompromised patients.
DESIGN. Prospective, non-blinded, non-controlled
SETTING. A paediatric cancer centre, Hong Kong.
PARTICIPANTS. Thirty-two patients, immunocompromised
by chemotherapy or bone marrow transplantation during an influenza
season in 2001.
INTERVENTION. Oral oseltamivir prophylaxis 75 mg/d
for 8 weeks.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES. Laboratory-confirmed influenza
infection, symptoms of influenza, drug compliance, and any side-effects
from oseltamivir treatment. Laboratory monitoring included virological
surveillance for influenza A and B, blood counts, and renal and
liver function tests.
RESULTS. Patients' median age was 14.3 years (range,
6.3-23.4 years). Underlying conditions included malignancy (n=29)
and other haematological diseases (n=3). No documented influenza
infection according to serological tests was present throughout
the study period. Five patients with symptoms of upper respiratory
tract infection did not have any influenza infection detected by
rapid virological assay and viral culture. For 16% of patients,
the main side-effect in the study was gastro-intestinal upset.
CONCLUSIONS. Oral oseltamivir 75 mg once daily for
8 weeks may be useful in the prevention of influenza infection in
patients immunocompromised by chemoradiotherapy; side-effects are
few and acceptable.
Hong Kong Med J 2004;10:103-6
Key words: Acetamides; Antiviral agents; Influenza;
Neuraminidase/antagonists & inhibitors