What is Paxlovid?
It’s a difficult task for “regular” people to keep up with the latest COVID-19 scientific developments. Fortunately for patients of board-certified internist Dr. David Nazarian at My Concierge MD, the drug pipeline is easily explained and available for treatment.
Paxlovid, made by Pfizer, is the first oral COVID-19 pill sanctioned by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Approved for the treatment of COVID-19 with an emergency use authorization (EUA) for the use with mild-to-moderate coronavirus disease. If taken during the first five days of symptom onset, has been clinically proven to reduce the risk of hospitalization and death. Currently, the drug is approved for high-risk adults over 65 and people who are immunosuppressed.
The drug is the second of its kind on the market. Merck developed molnupiravir, a game-changer in the UK, which is where it gained its approval. However, the Merck offering is said to only be effective 30% of the time.
Both drugs are known as protease inhibitors. These antiviral medications stop the virus from being able to replicate. Optimistic health care providers believe that protease inhibitors may go a long way toward lessening the pandemic.
Paxlovid is an oral antiviral combination of two drugs (nirmatrelvir and ritonavir) packaged together. When you take the three antiviral pills (two are nirmatrelvir) the drug stops the SARS-CoV-2 protein from replicating, which is the only way viruses can exist. The ritonavir essentially shuts down nirmatrelvir’s metabolism in the liver so it doesn’t leave the body as rapidly.
Paxlovid is taken twice orally for five days for a total of 30 tablets. The drug is not authorized for use for more than five days.
Paxlovid is safe and extremely effective.
To qualify for a prescription, a patient must have a positive COVID-19 test result and be at high risk for developing severe COVID-19. The FDA authorized Paxlovid for people ages 12 and older who weigh at least 88 pounds.
You must either have underlying conditions (including cancer, diabetes, obesity) or be an older adult (more than 81% of COVID-19 deaths occur in people over age 65). The more underlying medical conditions a person has, the higher their risk for developing a severe case of COVID-19, according to the CDC.
Gov. officials anticipate that these restrictions will soon be relaxed. During its clinical trial, unvaccinated participants who were given Paxlovid were 89% less likely to develop severe illness and death, compared to the control group who were given a placebo.
Do not visit your family physician or pharmacy to request this medication. Pharmacists are not qualified to assess patients.
Paxlovid is not a substitute for vaccination or booster.