With flu season on the horizon, the introduction of Xofluza has been a welcome addition to the drugs on the market that treat the symptoms of acute influenza. Its generic name is baloxavir marboxil, and it has been FDA-approved since October 2018.

Medicare Benefits for Xofluza
Medicare recipients already enrolled in Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage can check their plan’s formulary to determine if Xofluza is covered. The formulary is the list of prescription drugs covered by your plan. Medicare recipients enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans with prescription drug benefits can check their plan formulary and costs as plans vary.

It is advisable to enroll in prescription drug coverage when you first become eligible to avoid incurring a late enrollment penalty later. Once a penalty attaches to your premium, it generally remains there for the duration of your coverage. To apply for coverage, choose a Medicare-approved prescription drug insurance plan. Unlike Parts A and B, drug coverage plans are offered by private insurance companies.

Flu Prevention and Treatment
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has announced their kickoff of the flu vaccination campaign. Although the CDC website states the reported activity level of the illness is low at this time, the organization admonishes that it is now time to get vaccinated. They recommend that children at least six months old plus all adults get vaccinated by October 31.

The FDA’s announcement of the Xofluza approval referred to the treatment as “a novel mechanism of action.” Taken within the first 48 hours after symptoms appear, the drug has shown promising results. However, the FDA does warn of diarrhea and bronchitis as common side effects. If the flu has already struck, and Xofluza is not right for you, other drugs on the market include Tamiflu, Relenza and Rapivab. Drug characteristics vary in the frequency of dosage, how they are administered, and by whom, and the appropriate age group to receive the medication.

Complications of Influenza
The focal point of concern with the flu is that it can manifest into serious complications. Pneumonia, heart inflammation and organ failure can result from the flu.  The risk that these complications will occur increases for adults age 65 and over, 5-year old children and younger, women who are pregnant or have very recently given birth, and residents of nursing homes and long-term care facilities. Existing health issues, such as asthma, lung conditions, heart disease, obesity, immune deficiency and cancer, may exacerbate the situation further.

If you are suffering from headaches, high temperature, muscle pain, runny nose and feel much more tired than usual, do not hesitate to see your doctor. If the diagnosis is influenza, Xofluza might be your solution, and your doctor’s office staff should be able to assist you in determining your Medicare benefits.

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