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New Drug May Further Shorten Flu Symptoms

A new drug may reduce flu symptoms faster than current treatments, two studies suggest. The new drug is peramivir. It is given as a single injection. The studies included a total of 427 adults. They were randomly assigned to receive either peramivir or a placebo (fake) injection. Those who got the real drug were symptom-free 22 hours sooner than those who got the placebo. They were fever-free 24 hours sooner. They were also less contagious than the other group within 2 days after treatment began. The most common current influenza treatment is oseltamivir (Tamiflu). Oseltamivir is a pill taken twice a day. It shortens symptoms by about 12 hours. Both of these flu drugs must be given within 48 hours of when symptoms start. Study results were presented at a conference. HealthDay News wrote about them September 6.

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