What to Know About Xofluza, the New Flu Drug

What to Know About Xofluza, the New Flu Drug

What to Know About Xofluza, the New Flu Drug

"The efficacy is pretty similar to Tamiflu (oseltamivir) in that it shortens the duration for about 24 hours if it's given within the first 48 hours of the onset of symptoms", says Stan Deresinski, MD, a clinical professor in infectious disease at Stanford University in California. (The size of the dose depends on your weight.) A course of Tamiflu entails multiple doses over several days.

The drug's approval was based on two randomized controlled trials of 1,832 patients who received Xofluza, a placebo, or another antiviral influenza treatment within 48 hours of experiencing symptoms.

However, the drug will only be administered to patients over the age of 12.

It's expected to be available within weeks.

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Although the severity of each flu seasons varies, the illness puts a substantial burden on health in the United States.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that only 37 percent of Americans got vaccinated for the flu a year ago.

The Food and Drug Administration says it had approved Xofluza, the first new flu drug to hit the market in decades. "This novel drug provides an important, additional treatment option", Scott Gottlieb, MD, FDA commissioner said. "Yearly vaccination is the primary means of preventing and controlling flu outbreaks". The pill was initially developed by Shionogi of Japan, where it's already approved.

Doctors will have a new drug in their arsenal to help people fight the flu this year. You will need a prescription to get it.

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The pill works by interfering with the flu virus' ability to replicate.

The newly approved drug, baloxavir, is an antiviral like the more widely known Tamiflu. Xofluza was similarly effective to Roche's Tamiflu, which is taken over five days. While Xofluza didn't work faster than Tamiflu, it did reduce the level of the virus in patients' nose and throat quicker.

Every year, the seasonal flu virus infects 5 to 20 percent of Americans and can lead to tens of thousands of deaths. It depends, according to Deresinski. "Purely in terms of outcomes in the patients that we know about, that is, those who are otherwise healthy other than the fact that they have influenza, it's not going to make a great deal of difference".

The FDA, an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, protects the public health by assuring the safety, effectiveness, security of human and veterinary drugs, vaccines and other biological products for human use, and medical devices.

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