New Treatment for COVID-19 Receives Emergency Use Authorization
The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized the emergency use of Pfizer and Merck pills as a new treatment for COVID-19. Both medications are the first two pills against COVID-19 to be authorized in the United States and Europe. These pills can be prescribed by a doctor for you to take and manage at home. Therefore, the FDA hopes that the new treatment for COVID-19 will be crucial to reduce the number of world hospitalizations.
This long-awaited event comes at a time of uncertainty, as new Covid variants like Delta and Omicron arise. The new treatment for COVID-19 paints a ray of hope across the world: “[Authorizing these drugs is a great step forward in the fight against this pandemic]” said Patricia Cavazzoni, Director of the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER) at the FDA. However, the administration insists that both Pfizer and Merck pills are a complement, not a substitute, to vaccines. They emphasized that this new treatment does not replace the Coronavirus vaccines.
Nonetheless, several doubts have arisen after the FDA’s approval –regarding the new pills’ use, effectiveness, and side effects. Here is what you should know about the new treatment for COVID-19.
Pfizer’s New Treatment for Covid-19: Paxlovid, What We Know So Far
Last November, the pharmaceutical company Pfizer announced its first pill against COVID-19, Paxlovid. This oral medication showed a high efficacy rate in clinical trials conducted by the American pharmaceutical company. In fact, the results showed that the use of this pill may reduce the risk of hospitalization and death from COVID-19 by 89% in high-risk adult patients.
However, this new treatment for COVID-19 from Pfizer is not for all patients who test positive. It is only for adults who show moderate symptoms of the disease. Pfizer’s new treatment for COVID-19 can only be obtained with a prescription. Also, this medication should be started within the first five days after the person begins to show symptoms, and the pill should be taken every 12 hours for five consecutive days.
Efficacy Rate of Pfizer’s New Treatment for COVID-19
Clinical trials conducted by the pharmaceutical company Pfizer showed that Paxlovid is 89% effective in preventing hospitalizations and deaths in high-risk patients. This new treatment for COVID-19 inhibits the replication of the virus. Because of this, it is likely to be most effective during the early stages of infection.
Who Should and Shouldn’t Take Pfizer’s New Treatment for COVID-19?
As mentioned above, Paxlovid is not for all patients who test positive for COVID-19. For example: if you test positive for COVID but you are asymptomatic, this new treatment for COVID-19 will not be prescribed to you. However, people with mild to moderate symptoms of the infection should take the pill as soon as they become aware that they have COVID-19. This also includes older adults and minors under the age of 12, who are symptomatic and at risk of being hospitalized. Even so, Pfizer’s new treatment for COVID-19 is not recommended for people with severe kidney or liver diseases. Likewise, it is not the best treatment option for people who are taking other prescription drugs.
Side Effects of Pfizer’s New Treatment for COVID-19
Possible side effects of Pfizer’s new treatment for COVID-19, Paxlovid, can include: altered sense of taste, diarrhea, high blood pressure, and muscle aches. Using Paxlovid at the same time as other prescription drugs could result in serious health damage. In addition, the use of this new treatment for COVID-19 in people with uncontrolled HIV, can cause resistance to HIV medications. Similarly, if you suffer from liver disease, you should handle this new treatment for COVID-19 with extreme caution.
Paxlovid, New Treatment for COVID-19, Works Against the Omicron Variant
Recent data from Pfizer states that its new treatment for COVID-19, Paxlovid, is also effective against Omicron, a rapidly expanding variant of concern.
Merck’s New Treatment for COVID-19: Molnupiravir, What We Know So Far
Molnupiravir, by the American pharmaceutical company Merck, was authorized on Thursday, December 23, 2021, by the FDA. Like Paxlovid, it will be available by prescription only, and treatment needs to start within five days from the onset of COVID-19 symptoms. However, compared to Pfizer’s new treatment for COVID-19, Merck’s pill reduces the risk of death and hospitalization by 30%.
This new treatment for COVID-19 works by inhibiting the ability of the SARS-CoV-2 virus to replicate. In addition, it keeps the viral load at low levels in the body, thus reducing the severity of the Coronavirus. Molnupiravir is given as four 200-milligram oral capsules every 12 hours for five days (a total of 40 capsules). Keep in mind that the use of this new treatment for COVID-19 is not authorized to take for more than five days.
Who Should And Shouldn’t Take Merck’s New Treatment for COVID-19
Merck’s pills are designed for high-risk patients who suffer from COVID-19 with mild or moderate symptoms. This includes patients who suffer from other conditions, such as: heart disease, cancer, or diabetes.
Merck’s Molnupiravir is not licensed to be taken by minors because it could interfere with bone development. In addition, it is not recommended for pregnant individuals to take this new treatment for COVID-19 because of the possibility of birth defects. In addition, this pill is not authorized as a pre-exposure or post-exposure prevention treatment for COVID-19. Only adult patients who test positive for COVID-19 who show mild or moderate symptoms may be eligible to take the pill.
Side Effects of Merck’s Molnupiravir
According to data observed in a Merck clinical trial, this new treatment for Covid can produce the following side effects:
It is worth mentioning that the FDA continues to evaluate the safety and efficacy of Malnupiravir, a new treatment for COVID-19.
New Treatments for COVID-19 and New Medications for COVID-19 in Mexico
When Will They Be Available and Where Can I Buy Them?
As of today, the Mexican health authorities have not announced the approval of Pfizer and Merck’s new treatments for COVID-19. Thus, these new treatments for COVID-19 are not yet available for sale in our country.