A new anti-flu drug Xofluza that was announced earlier this year in Japan has been approved for prescription by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the United States. Despite the annual death toll from flu around the world, there have been no new anti-flu drugs in the market for over 20 years
The FDA announced the approval two months earlier than the expected date in December to prepare the public ahead of prime flu season. The medication has been approved for people over the age of 12 and should only be taken within the first 48 hours of flu symptoms.
Xofluza helps stop the influenza virus from replicating by disrupting the replication cycle earlier than current antiviral medications, such as Tamiflu. The approval comes following multiple clinical trials by the FDA that showed the drug helped shorten duration of flu symptoms compared to those who took a placebo.
Having more treatment options that work in different ways to attack the virus is important, because flu viruses can become resistant to antiviral drugs. Among the side effects found with the new drug are diarrhea and bronchitis. Researchers also found evidence the drug causes some flu strains to become resistant to antiviral medication, similar to how bacteria can become resistant to antibiotics.
Nevertheless, flu vaccines remain the best way to protect people from influenza viruses as it helps reduce complications as well as intensity of flu infections.