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Influenza Antiviral Treatments: Prescribing Practices Across the US


Rebekah Stewart Schicker, MSN, MPH, APRN, Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) Officer at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, explains her recent research on influenza antiviral treatment prescribing practices in 60 outpatient settings across the United States.
Interview Transcript (slightly modified for readability)
“[For] the study that we did to look at influenza antiviral treatment in the outpatient setting, we used an existing study platform, called the US Influenza Vaccine Effectiveness Network, and this platform consists of five research sites across the US, which then consists of more than 60 outpatient practices. We used that platform because they test everyone for influenza as part of their research study. And so we would have information on their influenza status as well as their symptom onset and the treatment that was prescribed to them.
What we set out to study was to see if outpatient providers prescribed influenza antiviral medications for their [high risk] patients when they presented to the outpatient practice. We looked at any patient who came with an acute respiratory illness that was described as a cough within seven days of onset. We also looked at patients who arrived within two days of symptom onset, and then we also looked at patients who were influenza-positive. We wanted to [answer the questions]: did clinicians prescribe antivirals for those patients according to recommendations; and, did that change at all over the past five seasons? So we looked at the last five [influenza] seasons. The other [questions] we wanted to [answer were]: do patients actually present in a timely manner to an outpatient provider in order to benefit from these medications; and also, how much influenza is circulating among these patients who present with an acute respiratory illness during the influenza season?”
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