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Release: March 4, 1999

Patients invited to participate in flu pill study

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- A raging sore throat, high temperature, headache, aching muscles and fatigue that have come on suddenly? As this is the height of the flu season, you could be infected with the influenza virus, which means you might be eligible to participate in a clinical study.

The University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics is inviting patients to participate in a clinical study of a flu pill to assess its effectiveness in the treatment and prevention of viral influenza. It is through such clinical studies that scientists learn more about new medicines and diseases.

To be eligible for the study, which ends March 31, patients must be age 65 or older and have symptoms of influenza -- high fever with a cough and feeling unwell. Treatment must be sought as soon as possible after the onset of symptoms (within 36 hours).

During winter, influenza infection spreads rapidly throughout the population, infecting an estimated 100 million people each year in the United States, Europe and Japan. Influenza outbreaks last several weeks and vary annually in intensity and type of influenza virus.

The flu pill is a new class of medicine, a neuraminidase inhibitor, which works by stopping the spread of the virus in the nose, throat and lungs as well as the rest of the body where the virus multiplies. It is taken orally, as a capsule, and is therefore easy to use.

Previous clinical study results published in medical literature have shown that patients treated with the flu pill experienced some reduction in both the duration and severity of their flu symptoms.

For more information about the UI geriatrics flu study, call (319) 353-7087.