CDC Health Alert on Influenza

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CDC Health Alert on Influenza

The following Q&A references the recent CDC Health Alert concerning the 2005-2006 influenza season.

How do the new CDC recommendations for chemoprophylaxis and treatment of influenza A with antivirals affect Part D formularies for 2006?

Currently there are 2 classes of antivirals available for the treatment or prophylaxis of influenza: adamantanes (rimantadine and amantadine) and neuraminidase inhibitors (oseltamivir and zanamivir). Any of the four agents may be used for infections with influenza A; however, there have been recent reports of increased adamantane-resistant influenza both globally and within the United States over the past 3 years. Based on resistance testing during the 2005-06 influenza season, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has given interim recommendations for the remainder of the season, advising against the use of either amantadine or rimantadine for the treatment or prophylaxis of influenza A in the United States. Oseltamivir or zanamivir are recommended during this period should an antiviral be needed for these indications. The CDC Health Alert is available at:

Given the recent findings and guidance from the CDC, CMS anticipates and supports special consideration of these agents by plan P&T committees and facilitation by plans to make the neuraminidase inhibitors available to beneficiaries in a timely manner when medically necessary. Thank you.