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U.S. doctors reconsider Pfizer’s Paxlovid for lower-risk COVID patients -Breaking

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO. Coronavirus disease (COVID-19), treatment pill Paxlovid can be seen in boxes at Misericordia in Grosseto in Italy on February 8, 2022. REUTERS/Jennifer Lorenzini/File Photo

Deena Beesley

(Reuters) – Use of Pfizer Inc’s COVID-19 antiviral Paxlovid was elevated this week. However, some physicians are considering recommending the medication for patients at lower risk. A U.S. health agency has warned that people can experience recurrences after taking the drug. They should also be careful not to take the drug again.

Dr. Sandra Kemmerly told Reuters that more time in quarantine is “not a crowd pleaser”, an infectious disease specialist at Ochsner Health New Orleans. “For people who don’t really have a risk,… It is not something I recommend.

As the number of infections has increased, so too has Paxlovid’s use by Pfizer. It is approved to treat new infected people at high risk. Last week, 162,000 units were administered – an increase of more than 33,000 per week since late last year when the drug launched. Biden officials have called for Paxlovid to be widely used, as the drug was free and purchased by government.

Paxlovid has been reported to have a greater effect on people who report that they experienced relief from Paxlovid, but their symptoms return after a short period of five days.

According to case reports and fears that relapsed patient could spread the disease, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advised that Paxlovid-using patients should remain isolated for five additional days, in the unlikely event that symptoms return.

Northwell Health chief of epidemiology, public health, and prevention Dr. Bruce Farber stated, “I’m not going to give it to anyone who is very low risk and aren’t terribly ill. Especially people who are vaccinated. For people over 75 years old or with significant medical conditions, he said that Paxlovid is still recommended.

Pfizer sent an email stating that they are monitoring the data and believe the possibility of the virus returning is rare. Paxlovid has not been shown to cause resistance in any of its patients, a spokesperson stated.

Paxlovid’s Emergency Authorization states that this should only be used for people newly infected with high risk factors. However, doctors have said that many other patients may also need a prescription.

Dr. Tara Vijayan is an infectious disease specialist at UCLA Health Los Angeles. She said that she receives a lot more requests than usual. It is not offered as an emergency supply.

The CDC stated that rebound symptoms are not a sign of Paxlovid and could be a normal part of COVID-19’s natural progression. However, the agency didn’t raise any concerns regarding health effects.

Vijayan said that COVID has historically had a stuttering course. People will feel better the first day but then feel worse the following day. However, I can confirm we haven’t experienced these rebound symptoms when using other COVID therapies, such as monoclonal antibody therapy.

“The patients that get a rebound it is usually very mild,” stated Dr. Earl Strum who is medical director for employee health at Keck Medicine USC Los Angeles.

There are many questions about how Paxlovid can help given the high rate of COVID-19 infected people. A December 2012 study in high-risk patients, including those with diabetes and unvaccinated COVIDs showed a 88% drop in the rate of hospitalizations or deaths.

The Delta version was still popular, but has been replaced with the Omicron, which is more easily transmitted.

“There is more baseline immunity. “There are still many infections but not as serious,” Northwell’s Farber stated.

According to him, the Paxlovid-related COVID rebound rate was around 10%. This is higher than the 3-4 percent rate that Pfizer cited in trials.

Jason Gallagher, an infectious diseases expert at Temple University’s School of Pharmacy, said the rebounds do not detract from the drug’s utility. It prevents you going to the hospital…if you get symptomatic after stopping taking the drug, it stinks but overall the drug worked well,” he stated.

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