OBJECTIVE:

The purpose of this study was to compare the efficiency and safety of a new neuraminidase inhibitor, laninamivir octanoate (LO), with zanamivir (ZN) in pediatric patients with influenza.

METHODS:

One hundred twelve pediatric patients ≤15 years, diagnosed with a rapid diagnostic test as having influenza from January to May 2011, were randomly assigned to the LO group or the ZN group, and their parents were asked to complete a questionnaire during the recovery at home. The LO group was instructed to inhale LO once (20 or 40 mg depending on age), and the ZN group was instructed to inhale ZN (20 mg) twice daily for 5 days.

RESULTS:

The LO group (n = 55) and the ZN group (n = 57) were well balanced. Finally, 44 patients in the LO group and 41 patients in the ZN group could be evaluated. Median times to fever resolution after initial treatment were 36 hours in the LO group and 37 hours in the ZN group. No differences were observed between the 2 groups with respect to the frequencies of asthmatic symptoms, pneumonia, gastrointestinal symptoms, or abnormal behaviors. Six younger children could not inhale LO well for technical reasons.

CONCLUSIONS:

Our data suggest that the efficiency and safety of LO are the same as those of ZN in pediatric patients with influenza but that LO may be more convenient than ZN because it requires only a single inhalation. However, younger patients may not inhale LO efficiently.

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