FDA approves new, fast-acting flu pill

The medication, called XOFLUZA, was designed to reduce the duration of flu symptoms if taken within 48 hours of onset, according to the FDA.
2:32 | 10/25/18

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Transcript for FDA approves new, fast-acting flu pill
treatment of flu that we were talking about in our first half hour. It is a new pill meant to reduce the length of symptoms. It was just approved by the fda and Dr. Jen Ashton is here with that. We remember how deadly this flu season was last year. That's right. What's the news? We're just getting into this year's flu season. Let me tell you about this new drug called xofluza, what is different about it, it is one oral single dose regimen so that's one pill. It's approved for people of age 12 and up and it could potentially reduce not just the symptoms and the duration of symptoms by one day on average but how contagious someone is. We don't know totally that data yet but looks promising. So we know about the symptoms. What about the possible side effects. Listen, you always have to balance risks versus benefits when you talk about any treatment, any medication and like Tamiflu or that class of antivirals there are side effects here. The common one, headache, a little G.I. Distress, upset stomach. There have been some reports of some mood disturbances and psychiatric issues that will be being followed for sure. But, again, we have to remember the flu, flu-related deaths, over 80,000 in the U.S. Last year. 80,000. 80,000, absolutely. So it is big news we have a new drug in our arsenal. This works differently than Tamiflu so that's generating some excitement. When will it be available. How much? The big questions, it will be available in the next couple weeks. It comes with a big price tag. Its wholesale cost is $150. For people with insurance it could be as low as a $30 co-pay and for people without insurance there is a coupon available that can help them with costs but it all comes down to whether your insurance will cover it. It always does. When people hear this they'll think, should I get the flu shot, do this in lieu of. This is not an either/or. So, robin, the CDC, we have to be crystal clear is recommending that everyone six months of age and up get their flu vaccine by the end of this month. It takes about two weeks to get the protection. This is not a substitute. That is to reduce symptoms and severity by about a day and may help reduce complications but do not under any circumstances think that because there are treatments out there that you can just roll the dice and forgo the vaccine. That is not the case. We have to keep in mind what happened last year. And you're going to be hearing a lot about it. We'll call it flu and you. Thanks so much, Jen. Michael.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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