Updated on 24 December 2012
Roche's Tamiflu becomes the first medicine approved to treat influenza in infants
Singapore: The US FDA extended its approval for Roche's Tamiflu (oseltamivir phosphate) for the treatment of acute, uncomplicated influenza to include infants, who are two weeks of age and older. Tamiflu is prescribed by doctors to help lessen the duration and severity of influenza by blocking the virus' ability to replicate in the body.
The approval makes Tamiflu the only prescription oral antiviral medicine approved to treat people of all ages, from infants two weeks of age to elderly people. Tamiflu was first approved in the US over 13 years ago. Approximately 30 million children worldwide over the age of one, including an estimated 6.9 million children in the US, have received a prescription for Tamiflu.
"We are very pleased that this approval provides parents with a medicine for children as young as two weeks old, particularly because the Centers for Disease Control advises against vaccinating infants less than six months of age," said Mr Hal Barron, head of global product development and chief medical officer for Roche.
The FDA approval is based on two open label safety and pharmacokinetic studies conducted in 136 infants less than one year of age infected with influenza, which assessed how Tamiflu was absorbed and distributed in the body and how well it was tolerated in this group. Based on these studies, a three mg/kg dose of Tamiflu given twice daily for five days to infants is expected to have a similar safety and efficacy profile to that observed in older children and adults. The clinical trials showed that the safety profile in patients less than one year of age was consistent with other populations.