CDC Announces Two Flu Drugs Do Not Work - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

1/16/06 Washington, D.C.

CDC Announces Two Flu Drugs Do Not Work

When it comes to reducing the effects of the flu this season, your options have just been reduced. The Centers for Disease Control announced over the weekend, two of the most commonly used drugs to fight the flu, do not work.

Currently, Texas was added to the list of states where the flu is considered widespread. Two of the drugs that have been used for decades to help sooth the symptoms of the flu are no longer affective. Those are amantadine or rimandatine.

"What the CDC is saying is that there is a resistance in the influenza virus against these two drugs. So these drugs should not be used in the treatment of flu," says Dr. Stephen Rydzak with ETMC in Tyler. This year, the flu is 91% resistant to both amantadine and rimandatine. That's an increase of 80 percent resistance in the last year.

This quick resistance has health officials and doctors concerned. "It is suggesting is that the virus are changing over time. In this case they cited a mutation which means that one particular amino acid that is produced by the virus. And now makes it such that the virus is resistant to the drug," says Dr. Rydzak.

This means if you get the flu, make sure you know what anti-flu drug you are taking. Dr. Rydzak says there is one medication that works best. "They should be treated with Tamiflu instead of these older antibiotics," says Rydzak.

As always, Dr. Rydzak says the best way to protect yourself from getting the flu in the first place, is the flu vaccine. He says you still have a few more days to get the shot for it to protect you and your family this season.

Dr. Rydzak says Tamiflu and Rellenza work only if taken within the first 24 to 48 hours of symptoms of the flu. Just to let you know, he says there could be a brief shortage of Tamiflu if it's on high demand. However, he says that's unlikely because drug companies usually respond quickly to the demand.

Karolyn Davis, reporting.


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