THE FOOD AND DRUG Administration has approved a new treatment for the flu for the first time in almost 20 years.
The FDA on Wednesday approved the oral drug Xofluza for “the treatment of acute uncomplicated influenza” in people ages 12 and older who have had symptoms for no more than 48 hours, according to a press release.
The green light comes just as this year’s flu season is getting started and following the deaths of an unvaccinated child in Florida and a man in Washington state. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that almost 80,000 people died of the flu last season.
“With thousands of people getting the flu every year, and many people becoming seriously ill, having safe and effective treatment alternatives is critical. This novel drug provides an important, additional treatment option,” FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb said.
Dr. Debra Birnkrant, director of the Division of Antiviral Products at the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, said in the release that treating flu symptoms with antiviral drugs within 48 hours of onset lessens symptoms and shortens the time people feel ill.
Xofluza was given priority review to expedite the approval process so the FDA could review the drug faster before flu season was in full swing. The drug was studied in…
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