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Systematic review and meta-analysis
Oseltamivir and zanamivir have limited effect on symptoms and do not reduce hospitalisation or serious complications of influenza
  1. Mark H Ebell
  1. Department of Epidemiology and Biostatics, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia, USA
  1. Correspondence to : Professor Mark H Ebell, Department of Epidemiology and Biostatics, University of Georgia, 233 Miller Hall, UGA Health Sciences Campus, Athens, GA 30602, USA; ebell{at}

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Commentary on: OpenUrlPubMed


Neuraminidase inhibitors are widely prescribed for the treatment of influenza. Observational studies have reported that oseltamivir significantly lowers respiratory tract complications and the likelihood of hospitalisation, while an industry-sponsored systematic review of randomised controlled trials (RCTs) concluded that oseltamivir reduced the likelihood of complications requiring an antibiotic.1 ,2 However, many clinical trials of oseltamivir and zanamivir were never published. The current review was performed to examine all the published and unpublished data.


This systematic review deviated somewhat from the usual protocols of the Cochrane Collaboration. In addition to searching MEDLINE and EMBASE for RCTs, the authors also sought clinical trial reports (CTRs) from the US Food and Drug Administration, the European Medicines Agency, the …

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  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.