Antiviral drug for treating influenza does not increase suicide risk in pediatric patients

A new study finds that use of oseltamivir, an antiviral drug used to treat influenza A and B, does not increase risk of suicide in children. Researchers identified 21,047 children between one and 18 years of age who attempted suicide during the 2009-2013 influenza seasons. Of those, 251 had been exposed to oseltamivir. Mean age was approximately 15 years, and underlying mental health diagnoses were common (65 percent). Because the observed association between oseltamivir and suicide could potentially be confounded by underlying influenza infection, the analysis was repeated with influenza diagnosis alone (without oseltamivir use) as the exposure.

Using this novel study design, which reduced statistical concerns found in previous studies, researchers did not find an association between oseltamivir or influenza diagnosis (only) and suicide.

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