Chemotherapy for influenza should be given if a benefit is likely to be realized. Most patients with influenza do not require chemotherapy, but a patient at significant risk for complications should be treated.


Indications for chemotherapy:

(1) pediatric patient < 5 years of age

(2) pediatric patient (age < 19 years) AND long-term aspirin therapy (associated with risk for Reye's syndrome)

(3) adult > 65 years of age

(4) morbidly obese patient with body mass index >= 40 kg per square meter

(5) pregnant woman

(6) recently pregnant woman (less than 2 weeks postpartum)

(7) immunosuppression (including HIV disease)

(8) chronic medical conditions (including asthma, COPD, cardiovascular disease, hemoglobinopathy, liver disease, chronic renal dysfunction, chronic metabolic disorder, etc)

(9) clinical deterioration

(10) signs of lower respiratory tract infection

(11) severe influenza requiring hospitalization



• The chronic medical conditions are the same as those recommended for influenza vaccination (see 25.10.0s).


It is important not to delay starting therapy while waiting for laboratory test resuls. A rapid test for influenza can be helpful if the diagnosis is in doubt.


It is important to be aware of how resistant the influenza virus is in the community to antiviral agents so that an effective agent can be selected (and an ineffective agent avoided).


To read more or access our algorithms and calculators, please log in or register.