Pfizer’s Paxlovid antiviral tablet for COVID received an emergency use authorization (EUA)by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration today. This medication is used to treat mild-to-moderate COVID-19 in adults and pediatric patients over the age of 12, if they meet the weight requirement, and who are at high risk for severe COVID-19 symptoms. Paxlovid will be available by prescription only. The medication should be initiated as soon as possible after a positive COVID test is obtained, within five days of symptom onset.
This is the first antiviral treatment for COVID-19 in the form of a pill, and it’s a big deal. It has the potential to be a game-changer in our quest to fight COVID-19 successfully by reducing the amount of serious illness and hospitalizations resulting from COVID-19 infections. We are in the midst of a significant surge in infections, so an additional tool in our arsenal is important.
Paxlovid is taken as three tablets taken orally together (two tablets of nirmatrelvir and one tablet of ritonavir), twice daily, for five days. In total, a patient takes 30 tablets. Nirmatrelvir works to inhibit a SARS-CoV-2 protein to stop the virus from replicating. Ritonavir slows down Nirmatrelvir’s breakdown to help it remain in the body for a longer period of time at higher concentrations. Used together, the medication is marketed as Paxlovid. To be eligible for Paxlovid, you must be age 12 or older, and at least 88 pounds.
We will be able to prescribe Paxlovid once it is sent to pharmacies. We expect this to happen by mid-January, 2022. Additional information about Paxlovid can be found in the EUA approval and in the FAQs issued by the FDA. We will share updates about Paxlovid availability as we learn more.
Innovative Care has dedicated COVID clinics to offer testing, vaccines and treatment. We offer monoclonal antibody treatment to COVID positive patients who are within 10 days of symptom onset and who have risk factors that leave them vulnerable to complications from the virus. A complete list of qualifications for monoclonal antibody treatment can be found on our website. Monoclonal antibody treatment is available in Lincoln Park and Downers Grove.
Nearly 75 percent of COVID cases in Chicago are due to the omicron variant. We know this variant is very contagious. In addition, there are a significant number of breakthrough cases. Please continue to exercise caution and be vigilant this holiday season so we can prevent further COVID spread. Clinics are full, hospitals are overtaxed and treatment is becoming difficult to find.