Analysis of a US hospitalization database demonstrated that more influenza patients were hospitalized and the age distribution of hospitalizations was younger during the 2009 (H1N1) influenza A pandemic compared with the three previous influenza seasons. The duration of hospital stay remained stable in all four seasons. A higher proportion of patients was treated with antivirals (P < 0·0001), comprised almost entirely of neuraminidase inhibitors, and the proportion was highest in those with influenza confirmed by diagnostic testing (P < 0·0001). Approximately one-third remained untreated. Young children had the lowest rate of neuraminidase-inhibitor treatment during the 2009 pandemic (P < 0·05).