ATLANTA – The government, for the first time, is urging doctors not to prescribe two antiviral drugs commonly used to fight influenza because of concerns about drug resistance, officials announced Saturday. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the recommendation covers the drugs rimantadine and amantadine during the current flu season. “Laboratory testing by CDC on the predominant strain of influenza (H3N2) currently circulating in the United States shows that it is resistant to these drugs,” according to a CDC statement. The two drugs have been used for years to combat the type-A, or most common, strain of influenza. The CDC tested 120 influenza A virus isolates from the H3N2 strain and found that 91 percent, or 109, were resistant to the two drugs, according to the statement. “This represents a sharp increase from last year when only 11 percent of isolates tested were resistant and 1.9 percent were resistant the year before that,” the statement said. One flu expert, Dr. William Schaffner of Vanderbilt University, said the development was “disconcerting” as flu now has joined the ranks of other diseases, such as tuberculosis and HIV, that recently have acquired the ability to […]

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