Flu Medications for Children

Medically Reviewed by Carmelita Swiner, MD on June 30, 2023
1 min read

Several influenza antiviral drugs are currently licensed in the United States. While they can't cure the flu, antiviral agents decrease the severity and duration of symptoms. However, their ability to prevent complications of influenza A has not been established. The primary drawback of these types of medications is that resistant viruses can slow recovery.

Neuraminidase inhibitors (NAIs) are FDA-approved for uncomplicated influenza when the symptoms have been present for fewer than 48 hours. The main advantages of the NAIs are their activity against both influenza A and B. Peramivir (Rapivab), given in one intravenous dose, is approved for use in adults aged 18 and older. Zanamivir (Relenza) is approved for treatment in children older than 7 years, but it is not approved for prevention. The drug is available as topical powder administered by a breath-activated inhalation device. Oseltamivir (Tamiflu) is approved to prevent the flu in children older than 1 year. However, the drug can be used to treat the flu in children as young as 2 weeks old. It is available as a tablet and suspension and is usually taken for 5 days.
Baloxavir marboxil (Xofluza) is a new medication called a polymerase acidic (PA) endonuclease inhibitor. It is taken orally to combat the flu and can be taken by children 12 years of age and older.