The People's Perspective on Medicine

Will Xofluza Help You Recover from the Flu Quickly?

FDA has just approved a new flu drug, Xofluza, that should shorten symptoms by about a day. For best results, take it as soon as you come down with flu.

It’s been almost two decades since the FDA approved a pill to treat influenza. It was oseltamivir, also known as Tamiflu. Last week, the agency approved a new flu pill, Xofluza.

What Is the Story on Xofluza?

Baloxavir marboxil (Xofluza) can be taken by teens and adults who have had flu symptoms for less than two days. The pill shortens the duration of flu symptoms by more than a day. Patients take just one dose instead of a series of doses, so it is more convenient than other flu treatments.

This new medication works on a completely different viral enzyme than Tamiflu and Relenza. Consequently, flu viruses have not yet developed resistance. Side effects of baloxavir include diarrhea, bronchitis, nausea and sinusitis.

Public health officials stress that antiviral drugs do not replace vaccination as the first line of defense against influenza. Last year, influenza put 900,000 Americans in the hospital. More than 80,000 died of complications.

What Should You Do About the Flu?

Because the new pill, like older flu medicines, is most effective when taken with the first 48 hours of symptoms, you should discuss it with your doctor now, before flu season starts. In addition, it makes sense to continue careful hand washing throughout the season, possibly combined with wearing a face mask. (You can learn more about the relevant research on these preventive approaches here.) In addition, you might consider drinking green tea or even gargling with it, as we describe here. Be sure to get the sleep you need, and keep your vitamin D levels up. And if you do come down with influenza, consider taking Xofluza early so you can recover quickly. Don’t count on acetaminophen (aka APAP or paracetamol), since it does not work well to relieve flu symptoms.

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About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies. .
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Yes, I agree with the previous comments. The side effects of most drugs are worse than the illness they are ment for. Yet, doctors are happy to write a prescription to patients. I find it difficult to respect the medical community. However, they only know what they have been taught. I do like to get a diagnosis, so I can find treatment that is appropriate.

Have to laugh to see that the side effects of a flu drug are “diarrhea, bronchitis, nausea and sinusitis.” Wait, isn’t that just like the flu???

But seriously, how often do the side effects happen and how severe are they? Is it worth it to take the drug?

Considering the fact that this new drugs only shortens the flu by one day and includes symptoms such as diarrhea, bronchitis, nausea and sinusitis I believe I’ll just stick with rest and letting the virus run it’s course should I have the misfortune of contracting the flu (which I haven’t had in years). Having said that, I still appreciate People’s Pharmacy for keeping us up to date on this sort of information.

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