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Oral Flu Drug Approved by FDA

September 18, 1993|Associated Press

WASHINGTON — The Food and Drug Administration on Friday approved a new oral drug to combat influenza A.

The drug, rimantadine, can alleviate flu symptoms in adults if taken within 48 hours after a person becomes ill.

It was not approved for use in children suffering from the flu. But the drug can be used as a preventive measure for both children and adults who cannot tolerate vaccines or who are taking drugs that suppress the immune system, the FDA reported.

In clinical trials, rimantadine caused fewer side effects than an older flu drug, amantadine.

Tens of millions of Americans get the flu each year and 20,000 die, most of them elderly.

Rimantadine will be sold under the brand name Flumadine by Forest Pharmaceuticals Inc. of St. Louis, and it will be available both as a 100 mg. coated tablet and as a syrup.

Amantadine is marketed by DuPont under the name Symmetrol.

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