Quick Hits: New Flu Drug Approved, Alternatives to Opioids After Surgery & More

The FDA has approved Xofluza, the first new antiviral flu drug in almost 20 years. Xofluza (baloxavir marboxil) is taken as a single pill and within 48 hours of experiencing flu symptoms. In a clinical trial, Xofluza reduced the duration of the flu by just a little over a day. Xofluza was also compared against Tamiflu (oseltamivir), an older flu drug now available as a generic. Xofluza alleviated symptoms only eight hours sooner compared to Tamiflu. Tamiflu, however, is taken twice daily for five days. The most common side effects seen with Xofluza are diarrhea, bronchitis, common cold symptoms and headache. Genentech said the drug should be available in the coming weeks. Posted October 24, 2018. Via FDA.

While opioids are frequently prescribed after surgery, a new survey finds more than nine out of 10 people would pick an alternative to the powerful painkillers. Results from the Mayo Clinic National Health Checkup found that 94% of respondents would want an alternative to an opioid drug after surgery. Yet, only 25% spoke with their doctor about one. The top reason for avoiding opioids was fear of addiction. The top alternative treatment for pain after surgery was physical therapy, followed by over-the-counter pain relievers, acupuncture and medical marijuana. The survey also found that four out of five people hold the mistaken view that opioids are appropriate for chronic pain when they are most appropriate for acute pain. Posted October 23, 2018. Via Mayo Clinic.

The biannual National Prescription Drug Take Back Day is this Saturday, October 27. If you have unused or expired prescription medications you don’t need any more, you can bring them to locations – mostly hospitals and police stations – in your neighborhood for proper disposal. The DEA, which sponsors the event, says disposing of drugs that are no longer needed can help stem prescription drug abuse, since many of the medications are obtained from medicine cabinets. You can find the collection site nearest to you by clicking here. Some drugstore chains, including Walgreens and CVS, also have medication disposal kiosks in some of their stores. Posted October 23, 2018. Via DEA.

Jonathan Block

Jonathan Block is a freelance writer and former MedShadow content editor. He has been an editor and writer for multiple pharmaceutical, health and medical publications, including BioCentury, The Pink Sheet, Modern Healthcare, Health Plan Week and Psychiatry Advisor. He holds a BA from Tufts University and is earning an MPH with a focus on health policy from the CUNY Graduate School of Public Health & Health Policy.

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