What we know

Influenza is a highly contagious virus which affects many people each year. Annual influenza epidemics cause morbidity and mortality in many countries. Effective control and management of seasonal influenza is a high priority for national governments as it is a major threat to human well being and economic and social development

What is this study exploring?

We want to find out which treatment option is best for people suffering from influenza, or flu-like illnesses. We are looking at whether adding an antiviral medication to best practice (painkillers, resting, taking fluids) is more effective in treating the symptoms of flu, getting people better quickly and getting people back to their normal daily activities, compared with giving painkillers, rest and taking fluids alone.

Why is this study important?

This study is important as each year governments stock pile antiviral drugs such as oseltamivir as they are concerned about a potential outbreak of a flu pandemic such as swine flu in 2009. This trial is the first international and non-industry sponsored trial examining the cost effectiveness of oseltamivir.

What will the study involve for the participant?

The person will first be seen by their doctor or nurse as usual. The person will be randomly allocated one of two treatments: oseltamivir with best usual primary care or best usual primary care. Everybody who takes part will be asked to complete a 14 day symptom diary, allow their GP to take a nasal swab and answer a short phone call from the research team 2, 14 and 28 days after joining the trial.

Who can take part?

Anyone aged one year or older presenting with flu-like illness in primary care during periods of increased influenza activity, provided their general practice is one of the five general practices in Ireland taking part in the study.

For more information

The HRB Primary Care Clinical Trials Network Ireland is coordinating the Irish component of the trial during season 3. For more information please contact info@primarycaretrials.ie