Flu bug 42, Amantadine 0 

Health officer cites flu drug as ineffective

Local health authorities recommend physicians suspend use of ineffective drug


By Vivian Moreau

Medical health officer Dr. Paul Martiquet is recommending local physicians quit prescribing anti-viral drug Amantadine to combat the flu after 100 per cent of samples sent for analysis proved resistant to the drug.

Martiquet’s recommendations come on the heels of a similar recommendation issued last week by the Public Health Agency of Canada.

“The results represent a significant increase in resistance compared to previous years,” the national agency states on its website “and are consistent with the level of antiviral resistance recently reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Preventionin the United States.”

“Amantadine used to be our mainstay during flu season,” Martiquet said, “and it is now a concern that viruses are proving to be resistant to it. But the more you use something the more chance you give them to become resistant.”

Martiquet is recommending a second drug, Oseltamivir (Tamiflu), be prescribed instead.

The medical health officer for the Sea to Sky area, Martiquet said all 42 samples provided by B.C. physicians from flu-afflicted patients proved to be resistant to Amantadine. Testing conducted by the CDC indicates Oseltamivir remains effective against the H3N2 virus, the agency said.

Whistler-area physicians are in the process of being notified about the recommendation, Martiquet said.

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