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FDA warns against online flu medications

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Amarillo, Texas - The hard hitting flu season has many people searching for a cheaper remedy. But, the Food and Drug Administration is warning consumers to stay away from purchasing flu medications online.

Since late January the FDA has sent out nearly a dozen letters to companies demanding they stop deceptive labeling of products as flu remedies and stop selling medicines marked as the generic version of Tamiflu.

The flu season has hit not only the country hard, but also the panhandle. But for those who are still under the weather, purchasing flu medications online may not be the best solution.

"Sometimes people look and they see what the actual cost of some of the medications are, or the cost of going to the doctor, and they say well you know it's cheaper to be able to do something I can just buy online," Dr. Todd Bell, West Texas Influenza Center says.

Dr. Bell says these online medications may not always do what they promise to.

"Medications that are supposed to be something that is approved for use for a particular disease, and it's not that medicine, it's a different medicine or there's not any medicine in it sometimes. That's actually why we have the FDA, is to be able to help those drug sources, those medication sources, so that when people purchase something they're getting exactly what it is that they paid for," Bell says.

Pharmacists are also saying they don't recommend purchasing these flu treatments online.

"Some of the products that are out there now have been tested and they've shown to have Tylenol products in them or some kind of penicillin derivatives in there, which could be very dangerous for a patient if they have drug allergies to something like that. It could also be dangerous for patients who are on other medications. There could be interactions that we're not aware of that could cause unwanted side effects," Kayley Will, Community Care Resident for Texas Tech School of Pharmacy says.

If costs of any medication is an issue, talk to your pharmacists to see if there are any coupons for that medication or drug rebate programs.

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