DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – The first flu drug in more than 20 years will soon be in North Texas pharmacies. It’s welcome news after the deadliest flu season in at least four decades.
Now when the flu strikes, there will be a new weapon to fight back. This week, the FDA approved Xofluza. It’s a single-dose pill for people 12 and older.
Dr. Glenn Hardesty, an Emergency Physician with Texas Health, says Xofluza is expected to shorten the duration of the flu by about 28 hours. That’s similar to Tamiflu, the current flu drug on the market. But the single dose, he says, should improve compliance.
“It makes it easier for the patient to take it and not having to remember to take it for the five days or whatever the regiment is for that particular drug,” Dr. Hardesty says.
Pharmacist Becky Foster says there’s another way in which Xofluza may prove superior to the alternative.
“It has a smaller side effect profile than Tamiflu did. You don’t have as much nausea, vomiting, those kind of side effects,” Foster says.
Xofluza will be available in a few weeks, and Foster says she expects it will be in high demand.
“Well, we’re probably going to get busier, because people are going to want to have it,” she says.
Dr. Hardesty says, like Tamiflu, it will be important to take Xofluza as soon as you get sick.
“You have to get it within the first 48 hours of symptoms. After that, its efficacy is really limited if any at all,” he says.
He says time will tell the true effectiveness of the new drug. But the most effective way to avoid catching the flu, he says, is still the flu shot.
Xofluza costs $150 without insurance, but the company is expected to offer coupons to bring that cost down to around $30.