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Medication used to treat flu is in short supply due to supply chain issues

Published: Nov. 17, 2021 at 9:55 PM CST
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MOUNTAIN BROOK, Ala. (WBRC) - Doctors are anticipating an active flu season this year, but some medications used to treat the virus are in short supply right now, specifically Xofluza. Pharmacists at Ritch’s Pharmacy in Mountain Brook said it’s really a supply chain issue. The medication is available, but there’s been a lag recently in wholesalers getting it to stores.

Becky Sorrell with Ritch’s Pharmacy said she’s spoken with Xofluza’s manufacturer, and they said it’s a temporary problem.

Xofluza comes in two strengths and the dosage you get depends on your body weight. Sorrell said there’s plenty of 40 milligram tablets, but the distribution problem is with the 80 milligram tablets. Xofluza is popular because it’s only one dose, which is very convenient for patients, but there are other medications you can take to treat the flu.

The pharmacy still has Tamiflu and its generics, and while it is a five-day course of therapy, Sorrell said it’s still better than having the flu.

Both Xofluza and Tamiflu shorten the duration of the flu virus and help patients feel better sooner, but Sorrell stresses that prevention is key.

“The flu shot is your best defense against not getting the flu. It’s painless, it’s…compared to the COVID vaccine and the experience a lot of us have had, there’s very little if no side effects. It’s easy. No appointments needed from most providers, and it’s just a simple step to do. You start making antibodies the first day you get your shot, and in two weeks, you’ve got full protection,” Sorrell explained.

Sorrell said you may also want to wear a mask and exercise social distancing to prevent catching and spreading the flu. She said Xofluza should be back on the shelves by Monday.

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