Flu drugs are in short supply, high demand in Central Texas - MyFoxAustin.com | KTBC Fox 7 | News, Weather, Sports

Flu drugs are in short supply, high demand in Central Texas

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It's a busy afternoon behind the counter at People's Pharmacy.

"In that past week and a half to two, the Tamiflu prescriptions have been on the rise," said People's Pharmacy Pharmacist Kimberly Fontenod.

The flu anti-viral medication is in high demand as more people are diagnosed with the flu. In the pharmacy's lab, the drug is being compounded into a liquid form, which recently sold out.

Doctors recommend Tamiflu for patients who have very recently started experiencing flu symptoms or for those who are in the high risk category.

"You also have to get Tamiflu within the first 24 hours for it to be very effective; somewhat effective within the first 48 hours. After that it's just no benefit," said Dr. Leah Treadwell, Chief of Urgent Care at Austin Regional Clinic.

She recommends that all those with flu like symptoms visit a doctor.

"People with the flu are at high risk of complications, so even if you're not in a high risk category and especially if you're still sick past day 4 or 5, you need to be seen."

Last week, ARC tested about 1,200 patients for flu and 44 percent tested positive.

The CDC is still determining this year's vaccine effectiveness.

"The viruses infecting people are very similar to the viruses in the vaccine so in theory the vaccine should provide good protection from influenza," said Dr. Michael Jhung, Medical Officer with the CDC Influenza Division.

Although this year's flu season started early, doctors are predicting that it will continue at least through next month and are still recommending that people get the flu vaccine.

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