This issue provides key information on influenza vaccines and antiviral medications for the 2018-2019 flu season, including precautions, side effects, and use in special populations.
Influenza (commonly referred to as “the flu”) is a contagious viral infection of the respiratory tract (eg, nose, throat, and lungs). Influenza viruses are primarily spread by respiratory transmission – through droplets from coughing or sneezing. The circulation of influenza viruses varies geographically, with transmission occurring between October and May in the Northern Hemisphere of the temperate region (which includes the US), April and September in the Southern Hemisphere of the temperate region, and year-round in tropical/sub-tropical regions. In the US, peak influenza activity often occurs in January and February.
The flu can affect people of all ages, most frequently schoolaged children, usually causing asymptomatic infection or mild to moderate illness. Severe illness and death occur most often in vulnerable populations (eg, infants, elderly, and immunocompromised individuals). Each year, influenza affects 5-20% of the US population and causes 3,000-49,000 deaths from influenza-related complications. In the 2016-2017 season, 31 million Americans were infected, 14.5 million sought medical care, and 600,000 individuals were hospitalized due to influenza.
Influenza vaccination is an important primary prevention strategy. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommends routine vaccination for all persons 6 months and older (unless contraindicated) starting in early fall, as soon as the
vaccine becomes available. The vaccine is available in a variety of formulations; however, the ACIP makes no preferential recommendation and encourages vaccination with any licensed, age-appropriate vaccine during the 2018-2019 season. Despite the ACIP’s universal recommendation for influenza vaccination, only 47% of the target population in the US (individuals 6 months and older) received the vaccine during the 2016-2017 season.
- This accredited program is targeted to pharmacy technicians.
CE activities for Pharmacists and Pharmacy Technicians:
This continuing education (CE) activity meets the requirements of all state boards of pharmacy for approved continuing education hours. CE credit is automatically reported to CPE Monitor.
The American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) for formally approved continuing education (CE) hours, and CE hours of pharmacotherapeutics.
The American Academy of Nurse Practitioners Certification Program (AANPCP) for acceptable, accredited CE.
- The ANCC requires all advanced practice nursing certificants (CNSs and NPs) to complete 25 CE hours of pharmacotherapeutics as a portion of the required 75 continuing education hours.
- Pharmacology CE is recommended by the AANPCP and will be required for Certificants renewing certification starting January 2017.
- Most State Boards of Nursing require a minimum number of pharmacy contact hours to renew an advanced practice license.
Requirements for CE Credit
- List the basic differences among trivalent, quadrivalent, inactivated, and live attenuated influenza vaccines. List 2 contraindications for live attenuated influenza vaccines (LAIV).
- State the generic and brand names for currently available influenza vaccines; discuss administration routes and age indications for each.
- Name the antiviral drugs recommended for influenza treatment and prevention; list recommended doses and duration of use, and 2 side effects
Richard Dang , PharmD
Brief Bio : Richard Dang, PharmD, Post-Graduate year 1 Pharmacy Practice Resident in Community Pharmacy , USC School of Pharmacy,
Disclosure : Dr. Dang report no financial or personal relationship with any commercial interest producing, marketing, reselling, or distributing a product or service that appears in this issue.