As Flu Concerns Grow, New Medication Could Help

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Sniffling, sneezing, congestion, and coughs are all signs you could have the flu. 

It’s caused Tipton-Rosemark Academy, McNairy, and Hardeman County Schools to close.

Now, the new drug Xofluza is available as an option to fight the flu.

“It’s a one-dose therapy for people who have a hard time taking medication,” said Dr. Stephen Threlkeld from Baptist Hospital. “It’s more expensive, of course, to have one pill, so you pay a little bit for the convenience for that.”

The drug was just approved by the Federal Drug Administration in late October. 

“You need to start the medication not too long after you get sick,” says Dr. Threlkeld. “Ideally within 48 hours within symptom onset.”

Xofluza works by cutting the illness down by a day or two days total, and according to Dr. Threlkeld, decreasing any complications.

We traveled to Byhalia, Mississippi, where a pharmacist tells us they have the new drug in stock, and have seen about 200 prescriptions for people suffering from flu symptoms.

“We have the new medication in stock, but we have yet to fill a prescription for it,” shared Lori McCoy, a pharmacist at Byhalia Drug Company. “A lot of prescribers are still writing for Tamiflu and I’m assuming that’s what everyone is used to.”

For those who want to continue taking what they are familiar with, I asked the doctor how Tamiflu, the more commonly prescribed drug, stacks up against it.

“The mainstay for some time now has been Tamivir or Tamiflu,” said Threlkeld. “Xofluza is a perfectly good drug. It is particularly helpful for us when we’re worried about somebody getting the medicine down twice a day for five days.”

Healthcare providers say the best way to fight the flu is with a flu shot.

Free flu shots are available while supplies last through the Shelby County Health Department.

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