Medicine

FDA Approves First New Influenza Drug in 20 Years

FDA Approves First New Influenza Drug in 20 Years

The prescription drug should only be taken within the first 48 hours of flu symptoms. One major advantage of Xofluza is that it's administered in a single dose as opposed to the five days of therapy that Tamiflu requires.

Although the severity of each flu seasons varies, the illness puts a substantial burden on health in the United States. With flu season already in full swing, Gottlieb further suggests that you get your flu shot by the end of October, "as seasonal flu vaccine is one of the most effective and safest ways to protect yourself, your family, and your community from the flu and serious flu-related complications".

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved a new antiviral treatment for the flu. "This novel drug provides an important, additional treatment option", said FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D., in a statement.

Dr. Rebekah Gee, secretary of the Louisiana Department of Health, told USA Today, "Although there is no substitute for the flu vaccine, we appreciate the development of any medication that assists in the treatment of influenza".

Despite advances in drugs to tackle the flu, doctors still caution the best way to prevent the flu is by getting vaccinated. In February 2018, it was approved in Japan for the treatment of influenza types A and B. Unlike Xofluza, Tamiflu is actually approved for anyone over two weeks old (a younger person's dosing of Tamiflu is different than an adult's, but they're still able to take it), according to Tamiflu's website, while Relanza is approved for those over seven, and Rapivab is okay for anyone over two to use, per the CDC. The flu can cause risky complications, so see your doctor as soon as you can if you start developing symptoms - especially if your symptoms are getting worse, or if you develop a fever of 103 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. Unlike other now available antiviral treatments, XOFLUZA is the first in a new class of antivirals created to inhibit polymerase acidic endonuclease, an enzyme essential for viral replication.

More news: Former England manager Glenn Hoddle is rushed to hospital after falling ill

From there, the virus spreads and the bad cells start replicating themselves.

The flu-fighting medication has shown efficacy against a wide range of influenza viruses, including oseltamivir-resistant strains and avian strains in non-clinical studies.

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. Some received Xofluza, others received a placebo and another group received Tamiflu, the FDA said.

"It reduces the excretion of the virus more rapidly than Tamiflu", he says.


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