Laninamivir octanoate may be a better choice for treating children with influenza, as it can be given in a single inhalation, according to a recent study.
Yoshiki Katsumi, MD, PhD, and colleagues from the department of pediatrics at Nantan General Hospital in Kyoto, Japan, examined 85 children aged 15 years and younger who were diagnosed with influenza using a rapid diagnostic test between January and May 2011. Patients were randomly assigned; 44 patients were given laninamivir octanoate (Inavir, Daiichi Sankyo) to inhale once daily at a dose of either 20 mg or 40 mg (depending on age), and 41 patients were given 20 mg of zanamivir (Relenza, GlaxoSmithKline) to inhale twice daily for 5 days.
Katsumi and colleagues said the median times to fever resolution were very close, with 36 hours for the laninamivir octanoate group and 37 for the zanamivir group. The researchers noted no differences in the frequency of asthmatic symptoms, pneumonia, gastrointestinal symptoms or abnormal behavior.
The study team said dose administration could limit effectiveness.
“Some of the patients in both groups did not inhale deeply enough to receive the entire medication dose as we and their parents wanted. We assume that these patients did not get enough medicine,” the researchers wrote, adding that additional study is needed to examine this effect. “At least for older pediatric patients with influenza, a single inhalation of [laninamivir octanoate] was sufficient and may be more convenient than 10 inhalations of zanamivir for 5 days.”
Disclosure: Dr. Katsumi reports no relevant financial disclosures.