Background: We conducted double-blind, placebo-controlled trials assessing the efficacy and tolerability of favipiravir in acute influenza.
Methods: Otherwise healthy adults with influenza-like symptoms and fever of ≤48 hours were randomized to favipiravir (1800 mg twice daily [BID] on day 1, 800 mg BID on days 2-5) or placebo tablets (1:1 in US316; 3:1 in US317). The primary efficacy endpoint was the time to illness alleviation when 6 influenza symptoms were self-rated as absent or mild and fever was absent in the intention-to-treat, influenza-infected participants.
Results: In US316 (301 favipiravir, 322 placebo), favipiravir was associated with a 14.4-hour reduction (median, 84.2 vs 98.6 hours; P = .004) in time to illness alleviation vs placebo. In US317 (526 favipiravir, 169 placebo), favipiravir did not significantly reduce time to alleviation (median, 77.8 vs 83.9 hours). In both trials favipiravir was associated with reduced viral titers, RNA load area under the curve over days 1-5, and median times to cessation of virus detection (P < .001). Aside from asymptomatic hyperuricemia, no important differences in adverse events were found.
Conclusions: This favipiravir dosing regimen demonstrated significant antiviral efficacy but inconsistent illness alleviation in uncomplicated influenza. Studies of higher doses and antiviral combinations for treating serious influenza and other RNA viral infections are warranted. Clinical Trials Registration. NCT02026349; NCT02008344.
Keywords: antiviral; favipiravir; influenza; pharmacokinetics; treatment.
© The Author(s) 2022. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Infectious Diseases Society of America.