This guidance updates and replaces NICE technology appraisal 67 (published in September 2003).

NICE has said that its recommendations about oseltamivir and zanamivir should not reduce efforts to give vaccination (also called the flu jab) to people for whom it is recommended in national guidelines.

The guidance does not cover widespread epidemics.

Oseltamivir and zanamivir are recommended to prevent flu if all of the following apply:

  • The amount of flu virus going around is enough that if someone has a flu-like illness it is likely that it has been caused by the flu virus
  • The person is in an at-risk group (see page 4).
  • The person has been in contact with someone with a flu-like illness and can start treatment within 36 hours (for zanamivir) or within 48 hours (for oseltamivir)
  • The person has not been effectively protected by vaccination.

Guidance section 1.3 refers to the fact that the clinical risk groups are defined and updated each year by the Chief Medical Officer. For more information please see Annex C in the 2012/13 Seasonal flu plan.

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