Navigation Links
Giving Swine Flu Drug by IV Could Save Lives

British case supports using Relenza in this as-yet-unapproved form, experts say

THURSDAY, Sept. 3 (HealthDay News) -- A 22-year-old cancer patient battling for her life after contracting H1N1 swine flu recovered fully after doctors took the unorthodox approach of giving her the antiviral drug Relenza intravenously.

The British physicians who treated the woman said this last-resort approach may need to be considered for others as swine flu sweeps the globe. Relenza is licensed in pill form and as an inhaled powder, but not as an intravenous medication.

In this woman's case, neither Relenza nor a similar H1N1-fighting drug, Tamiflu, could reach her severely affected lungs when taken orally or inhaled, the physicians report in the Sept. 4 online issue of The Lancet.

"There were clinical signs that the patient was not able to absorb the Tamiflu because of a problem with the digestive system; and in the case of Relenza, the lungs were very inflamed with a lot of fluid leakage, and we considered it likely that the powdered form of the drug was not able to penetrate far enough to be effective," explained study co-author Dr. Michael Kidd of University College London Hospitals.

The woman's situation was dire. She had been hospitalized in an intensive care unit for 16 days and was breathing through a respirator after her lungs filled with fluid. Also, her immune system had been badly weakened by the chemotherapy she was taking to help fight her cancer.

Since oral or inhaled medicines had failed to reach the woman's lungs, Kidd and his colleague, Dr. Mervyn Singer, turned to an unlicensed form of intravenous Relenza after consultations with the hospital and next-of-kin. "Giving the antiviral drug into the bloodstream would get round these obstacles, and we anticipated it would reach the lungs rapidly and effectively," Kidd said.

The treatment worked. After receiving the IV Relenza, the woman began to recover speedily, greatly reducing the amount of H1N1 virus in her system. Five days later, she breathed on her own, and in a little more than a week she left the intensive-care unit.

Singer and Kidd also gave the patient corticosteroids at the same time that she received the intravenous Relenza. "We reasoned that the steroids might help by damping down the inflammation once the viral replication was under control," Kidd said. "We have no evidence that this was the case in our patient, but we would like to see this possibility addressed in future clinical trials."

Their success in bringing this very sick patient back from the brink augurs for the wider acceptance of intravenous Relenza for patients seriously affected by the swine flu this fall and winter, Kidd said. "We consider it very important to further investigate this approach as soon as possible, since apart from the obvious individual patient benefit, it could help relieve the pressure on beds that is likely to occur in critical care facilities during the colder seasons," he said.

One U.S expert agreed. "The patient was deathly ill and [the doctor] got permission to use it on this patient, and then it seemed to have helped, and I think that's great," said Dr. Peter Gross, chief medical officer at Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey.

"The individual involved was at very high risk of having very serious complications of the novel H1N1 because the person was very immunocompromised," Gross pointed out.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has placed people with chronic underlying illnesses, such as asthma, diabetes or cancer, and those with compromised immune systems high on the list of those at risk for severe or life-threatening H1N1 infections. Many of the 477 Americans who have died have had some sort of underlying medical condition, CDC officials noted Thursday in their journal, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

According to Kidd, the woman he treated exhibited no side effects from the strategy. "IV Relenza is well-tolerated in adults at quite high doses, previously shown in clinical trials, and it can be used in children from 6 months of age," he said. There are certain "contraindications" for its use -- doses may need to be adjusted if the patient has kidney disease, for example, and its safety during pregnancy "has not been established," Kidd said.

But even for pregnant women (another H1N1 high-risk group, according to the CDC), "in severe swine flu respiratory disease, the expected benefit to the mother is likely to outweigh any possible risk to the fetus," Kidd said.

More information

Find out more about H1N1 flu at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

SOURCES: Michael Kidd, FRC, clinician, University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, London, England; Peter Gross, M.D., chief medical officer, Hackensack University Medical Center, New Jersey; Sept. 4, 2009, The Lancet, online

Copyright©2009 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. Help Your Favorite Senior Fight Alzheimers in Thanksgiving Contest: Win $2,500 Brain Fitness System
2. The Breema Center Presents Its Fall Week-Long Intensive on Giving and Receiving Breema Bodywork
3. Gender Gap Exists for Giving, Too
4. Seven Secrets to Successful Caregiving of Older Adults
5. LASIK Eye Surgery Practice in Phoenix Arizona Giving Away Free LASIK to Winner of New Video Contest
6. Florida Gentle Dental Dentists Giving Away Smile Makeover and Orthodontic Braces at 7th Annual Our Kids World Family Fun Festival
7. Fifteen Community Colleges Win Awards for Innovative Caregiving Training Programs
8. Giving Statins to Kids Provokes Debate
9. The National Alliance for Caregiving and MetLife Foundation Honor Innovators Making a Difference in the Lives of Caregivers
10. Global health funding soars, boosted by unprecedented private giving
11. Sierra Tucson Recognizes Honorees at "Gratitude for Giving" Breakfast in Los Angeles
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
Giving Swine Flu Drug by IV Could Save Lives
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... November 24, 2015 , ... In an article ... variables that determine which patients are or are not eligible for bariatric surgery. The ... BMI over 40, are more than 100 pounds overweight, or have a BMI of ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... 24, 2015 , ... It takes only three to five seconds to make ... the first impression be positive and reflects business values. If a client starts with ... want to return. They will also share their thoughts about a business with others, ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... 24, 2015 , ... Cancer patients, survivors, caregivers, family members ... live taping of the next CURE Connections® video series on Saturday, ... Symposium at Georgetown University Hotel & Conference Center in Washington, D.C. , CURE ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... November 24, 2015 , ... Aided by seed funding from the ... study designed to yield insights into how to detect and treat pancreatic cancer (PC). ... cancer from small, non-coding RNA molecules (ncRNA), genetic material that is present in the ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... 2015 , ... Sir Grout of Baltimore is proud to ... award recognizes good companies for excellence in service and a commitment to the ... surface restoration company earned this recognition after a thorough review by the acclaimed ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/24/2015)... Connecticut , November 24, 2015 ... of Acadiana has entered into a multi-year agreement ... imaging centers. This investment will provide the Breast Center ... --> Sectra (STO: SECT B) announces that ... agreement to deploy Breast Imaging PACS in its ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... , Nov. 24, 2015  Ascendant Solutions, Inc. (Pink Sheets: ... its Board of Directors has declared a special 1 percent ... dividend is payable December 14, 2015, to shareholders of record ... form of additional shares of common stock. ... Board is a strong endorsement of our confidence in Ascendant,s ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... -- iRhythm Technologies, Inc. , a leading digital health care ... will participate in the 27th Annual Piper Jaffray Healthcare Conference at ... . Kevin King , Chief Executive Officer of ... 8:50am ET. --> --> ... . --> iRhythm is a privately held ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: