Xofluza: FDA approves new drug to fight the flu

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The FDA just approved a new drug in the fight against the flu that can help you and your family. (Genentech)

Flu season is here, and it's expected to hit hard. The Food and Drug Administration has approved a new drug in the fight against the flu that can help you and your family.

It's called Xofluza, and it's approved to treat the potentially deadly infectious disease. It's the first time in nearly 20 years that the FDA approved a new oral medication.

Xofuluza is not a replacement for the flu shot.

"Xofluza works by actually stopping the replication of the virus," explained Dr. Armand Dorian, the chief medical officer at USC Verdugo Hills Hospital.

And while other antiviral drugs for the flu may require you to take 10 pills over five days, Xofluza is taken as just a single dose.

"Taking Xofluza decreases your symptoms for about a day," Dorian said.

The drug needs to be taken within the first two days of getting sick, and it's not recommended for kids.

"Unfortunately, you have to be 12 years or older to be able to take it and that's a big subset that can't take it," Dorian said. "Those are our vulnerable kids. But, the good news is the elderly can take it, so that's really important that we now have different medications that can help those who are most susceptible."

Side effects include bronchitis and diarrhea, but Dorian believes the benefits outweigh the risks.

One thing that distinguishes Xofluxa is that it may also make you less likely to be contagious.

"It does not replace your ability or the need to wash your hands," Dorian said.

To obtain Xofluza, a doctor's prescription is needed. Anything bought online is probably not the real thing.

According to the manufacturer, Genentech, Xofluza will cost $150. The maker said it will offer coupons that lower the price to $30 for people with health insurance.
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