Via Emerging Infectious Diseases: Debate Regarding Oseltamivir Use for Seasonal and Pandemic Influenza. The abstract:
A debate about the market-leading influenza antiviral medication, oseltamivir, which initially focused on treatment for generally mild illness, has been expanded to question the wisdom of stockpiling for use in future influenza pandemics. Although randomized controlled trial evidence confirms that oseltamivir will reduce symptom duration by 17–25 hours among otherwise healthy adolescents and adults with community-managed disease, no randomized controlled trials have examined the effectiveness of oseltamivir against more serious outcomes.
Observational studies, although criticized on methodologic grounds, suggest that oseltamivir given early can reduce the risk for death by half among persons hospitalized with confirmed infection caused by influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 and influenza A(H5N1) viruses.
However, available randomized controlled trial data may not be able to capture the effect of oseltamivir use among hospitalized patients with severe disease. We assert that data on outpatients with relatively mild disease should not form the basis for policies on the management of more severe disease.