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What you should know about Xofluza, the new flu remedy



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Consumer Reports has no financial relationship with advertisers on this site.

A Brand-New Drug to Reduce Flu-Baloxavir Marboxil (Xofluza (19659004) "With thousands of people suffering from the flu every year and many people becoming seriously ill, it is important to have safe and effective treatment alternatives." FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, MD, said in a statement, "This novel drug offers an important, additional treatment option."

The drug is expected to be available for the bulk of the flu season in the coming weeks, according to a Genentech spokesperson Company Distributing Xofluza in the US

When the flu season picks up, here are answers to some of the key questions you may ask about this new drug.

How well does it work?

Data from clinical trials suggest that Xofluza has been approved for most healthy people over the age of 1

2, works as well as Oseltamivir (Tamiflu and Generic) – the most commonly used flu treatment currently available – in reducing the duration of a flu illness. Overall, both seem to shorten the time people have flu symptoms from just over three days to just over two days.

What is different about Xofluza?

Similar to Tamiflu, it must be taken within 48 hours of developing symptoms to be effective. And the sooner the better: In a clinical study published in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) in September, people who took the drug within 24 hours of illness had fewer symptoms than those between them took 24 and 48 hours after the onset of influenza symptoms

Side effects seem to be similar to those of Tamiflu. In the NEJM study, about 20 percent of participants who received Xofluza had mild side effects such as diarrhea, bronchitis, nausea, and sinusitis. The rates of these side effects were about the same for subjects who received either Tamiflu or a placebo.

Xofluza requires only one dose. (The size of the dose depends on your weight.) One course of Tamiflu involves several doses over several days.

And preliminary evidence suggests that Xofluza might be effective against influenza viruses that have developed resistance to Tamiflu, although this has not yet been confirmed in the clinical trials.

While Xofluza is only approved for healthy people 12 and older, Tamiflu can be used in infants as young as two weeks. Tamiflu is also approved for pregnant women: Genentech currently advises women to let their doctor know if they are pregnant, pregnant or breastfeeding – before taking Xofluza.

And unlike Tamiflu, Xofluza should only be taken by people with an "uncomplicated" flu virus, which means that it is not for those who are seriously ill with the virus infection. The data from clinical trials did not show how well the drug would work for flu patients, for example.

How much does it cost?

According to Genentech, Xofluza's selling price will be $ 150. But the company provides coupons to reduce the cost of the drug, available here. If your health insurer covers the drug, the coupon could reduce your costs to just $ 30. Otherwise, the coupon could lower your out-of-pocket price to $ 60.

Do I still need a flu shot?

Yes. Preventing the flu altogether is always better than catching the virus and treating it with an antiviral drug, according to the FDA. Although the flu vaccine is not perfect, this is the most effective step you can take to stay healthy this winter.

And you should get the vaccine as soon as possible – it takes about two weeks until the protection of the shot is given full effect.

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