The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced the approval of a new flu drug on Wednesday, October 24, 2018, making Xofluza (baloxavir marboxil) the first new anti-flu medication in almost two decades.
After one of the deadliest flu seasons in almost four decades, 80,000 people past year, a new advance in fighting the winter-time illness.
Baloxavir is the actual drug, but Xofluza is what it's called, and it's marketed by Genentech Biotechnology company. Xofluza has been approved for people age 12 and older. Supposedly this will cut the sickness from the flu down to two days.
Dr. Lenchus said the drug is taken after a person is diagnosed with the flu. Insured patients will be able to buy the drug for as little as $30, while the wholesale cost is slated at $150.
Instead of multiple pills over days, Xofluza can be administered in just one pill.
I've tried Tamiflu in the past and it didn't seem to help too much, so hopefully this is something that will be more effective than that for me. And honestly, the more flu medication options the better: "Having more treatment options that work in different ways to attack the virus is important because flu viruses can become resistant to antiviral drugs".
Further testing is planned to determine whether Xofluza is better than Tamiflu for preventing spread of the flu to others and for treating patients at high risk for hospitalization and pneumonia, such as people with diabetes or lung disease, pregnant women, young children and the elderly. "It has to be given early within the first 24 to 48 hours".
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In both trials, Xofluza patients' symptom were alleviated more quickly compared to the placebo.
"Although there is no substitute for the flu vaccine, we appreciate the development of any medication that assists in the treatment of influenza", said Dr. Rebekah Gee, secretary of the Louisiana Department of Health.
The prescription drug should only be taken within the first 48 hours of flu symptoms.
Dr. Robert Glatter, an emergency room physician at Lennox Hill Hospital in NY, explains that the drug works by interrupting the virus' ability to replicate.
Genentech, a subsidiary of Roche, is the distributor of this treatment, in addition to its other flu treatment, Tamiflu - which has been supported by the Centre for Disease Control (CDC) during times of particularly infectious and severe flu seasons. However, some patients did develop side effects including diarrhea and bronchitis, per the recent statement.
Also, reminder: These drugs are meant to help speed up your recovery once you have the flu.