First New Flu Prescription Approved by FDA in 20 Years

The drug is intended to help people who are experiencing flu symptoms for no more than 48 hours.

flu prescription
A new flu drug will be available across the U.S. within a few weeks.
Getty Images/Westend61

A new prescription flu drug is here just in time for the worst season of the year for the respiratory illness.

The drug, called Xofluza, is the first flu aide to be approved by the FDA in nearly 20 years. It’s a single dose, oral medication intended for people 12 and over who have felt flu-like symptoms for no more than 48 hours.

“With thousands of people getting the flu every year, and many people becoming seriously ill, having safe and effective treatment alternatives is critical,” FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb said in a statement, CNN reported.

Xofluza is designed to alleviate flu symptoms — like aching muscles, cough, chills, fever, congestion and sore throat — and shorten the illness’ duration.

Although proven effective in clinical trials, the drug is not exactly risk-free. The FDA acknowledged that Xofluza’s side effects may include diarrhea and bronchitis.

It will be available in the U.S. within a few weeks at about $150 but those with insurance and an online-available coupon may pay as little as $30, the drug’s maker, a U.S.-based distributor, Genentech, said.

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