First new flu drug approved in U.S. in 20 years

State News

There’s a new alternative to the drug Tamiflu for the coming influenza season, and it should be available in just a few weeks.

It’s called Xofluza and it’s the first new flu drug to hit the market in nearly 20 years. 

David Schmidt, the Assistant Medical Director of Grant Medical Center emergency room, said this new flu-fighting drug, Xofluza, is very similar to Tamiflu.

“It doesn’t decrease hospitalization rates,” said Schmidt. “It may shorten symptoms 12 hours or a half a day.”

The FDA said Xofluza should be used in patients who have been symptomatic for no more than two days, which is the same as Tamiflu, but there is one big difference.

“Tamiflu has been on the market for several years and has been used quite a bit, and with that, there’s a lot of resistance to this medication,” said Schmidt.

The FDA said the pill, Xofluza, has been proven to shorten the symptoms even if the flu strain is drug resistant, which gives patients a better chance to fight the flu.

Eric Giles said he’s had the flu a few times and he always asks for Tamiflu because it works for him. But he said having another option does intrigue him.

“I like hearing there’s an alternative to Tamiflu,” Giles said. “You know viruses are always changing so you got to keep up with the medication.”

He added knowing of this alternative will push him to take the next step and talk to his doctor.

Schmidt said the way to prevent the flu is to get a flu shot.

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