Background: Influenza infection is a global problem affecting millions of people worldwide, despite efficacious vaccines. Treatment and prophylaxis against influenza have been successful using antiviral medications such as adamantanes and neuraminidase inhibitors.
Objective: To review the antiviral agents and specifically the neuraminidase inhibitor, oseltamivir, for use in treatment and prophylaxis of influenza infection.
Methods: This review focuses on published literature regarding the clinical use of oseltamivir, as well as discussing emerging threats such as avian influenza, antiviral resistance, and strategies such as combination antiviral treatment to mitigate these threats.
Results: Oseltamivir is effective in reducing symptom burden in those with influenza A or B infection, and is preventative against developing infection after exposure. Emergence of naturally occurring or post-treatment oseltamivir-resistant influenza as well as an avian influenza pandemic may limit its future use as a monotherapeutic antiviral treatment agent.