Taking antibiotics for flu symptoms will not make you feel better if you have a virus. Some sore throats are caused by bacteria, but most are caused by viruses. Antibiotics fight against bacterial infections. For a virus you need an antiviral. Antiviral drugs are a second line of defense that can be used to treat flu (including seasonal flu and variant flu viruses) if you get sick. The first line of defense, is the flu shot. But if you didn’t get the flu vaccine this season, and fall ill with the flu your best bet is an antiviral drug.
Antiviral drugs are prescription. Medications that fight against flu viruses in your body. Antiviral drugs are not sold over-the-counter. You need a prescription. Antiviral treatment works best when started soon after flu illness begins. When treatment is started within two days of becoming sick, it can shorten the time you are sick. It can also reduce the risk of complications such as respiratory complications and ear infections. Even if you cannot start the antiviral treatment within two days, starting them later can still be beneficial.
There are four FDA-approved antiviral drugs recommended by the CDC to treat flu this season:
- Tamiflu (oseltamivir phosphate)- twice daily for 5 days Most common, comes in capsules and the cost without insurance is about $109.00
- Relenza ( zanamivir) – twice daily for 5 days An inhalation powder, the cost without insurance is about $70.00
- Rapivab (peramivir). – given one time by IV, for use in the hospital, the cost is about $1,000.00
- Xofluza (baloxxavirmarboxil) – given as a single oral dose, the newest drug to join the market, cost is about $90.00
Most insurance plans will cover antivirals drugs for the flu, check your plan. There are also coupons available on-line.