Antiviral drugs that could help treat new COVID-19 patients have visited pharmacies around the country, including in the Philadelphia area.
In December, US regulators authorized Pfizer, Paxlovid, and Merck’s molnupiravir. In high-risk patients, both have been shown to reduce the risk of hospitalization or death from COVID-19, although Pfizer is much more effective.
Both drugs are available at 100 locations in Pennsylvania, including more than 30 in Philadelphia and surrounding suburbs, according to the US Department of Health and Human Services. This drug is also available at more than 50 locations in New Jersey, most of which are Walgreens.
Molnupiravir is also available at a location in Delaware, Highway 1601 Kirkwood in Wilmington.
A closer look at the pills:
WHO SHOULD TAKE THESE BILLS?
Antiretroviral drugs are not for everyone who tests positive. The drug is intended for people with mild or moderate COVID-19 who are more likely to become seriously ill. That includes older adults and people with other health conditions like heart disease, cancer or diabetes that make them more vulnerable.
Both drugs are OK’d for adults while Paxlovid is allowed for children 12 years and older.
The Food and Drug Administration has approved Merck’s COVID-19 antiviral molnupiravir tablets for emergency use.
WHO DOES NOT WIN THIS BILLS?
Merck’s molnupiravir should not be given to children because it can interfere with bone growth. It is also not recommended for pregnant women as it can cause birth defects.
Pfizer tablets are not recommended for patients with severe kidney or liver problems. It also may not be the best choice for some people as it can interact with other prescriptions the patient is taking.
Antiretroviral drugs are not authorized for people hospitalized with COVID-19.
WHAT IS THE TREATMENT WINDOWS?
Medicines must be started as soon as possible, within five days of the onset of symptoms. Cough, headache, fever, loss of taste or smell, and muscle and body aches are among the more common signs. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provide a website to check your symptoms.
Dr Cameron Wolfe, an infectious disease specialist at Duke University Hospital, recommends getting tested as soon as you have symptoms of COVID-19.
“If you wait until you start having trouble breathing, you’re missing out on a huge chance that these drugs will be helpful,” says Wolfe.
Unexpected cases of the Delta variant of COVID-19, along with the decline in immunity noticed months after vaccination, are leading to calls for a 3rd dose of the Pfizer vaccine. and Moderna. But it remains unclear what would be recommended for people who have had Johnson & Johnson injections. Aditi Nerurkar from Harvard explains what we know and don’t know about booster injections.
WHERE CAN I GET A BILL?
You will first need a prescription from your doctor or other authorized healthcare professional. The US government has purchased these pills from Merck and Pfizer and is making them available for free, but initial supplies will be limited. They are shipped to states where they are available at pharmacies, community health centers, and elsewhere. Treatment lasts five days. You can find a full list of locations here.
Some pharmacists can run rapid COVID-19 testing and prescribe medication in one visit. They did this in many states for the flu or sore throat.
WILL BEAUTY WORK FOR OMICRON Complications?
These pills are expected to be effective against omicrons because they do not target the mutant protein, which is home to most of the variant’s worrisome mutations. These two pills work in different ways to stop the virus from multiplying.
ARE ANOTHER OPTIONS FOR NEW COVID-19 PATIENTS?
Yes, but they’re not as easy to take as pills: They’re given intravenously or by injection, usually in a hospital or clinic. The three drugs provide antibodies against the virus, although laboratory testing has shown that the two drugs are not effective against omicrons.
Antibodies from British drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline appear to have worked, and officials say they are working to increase US supplies. The only antiviral drug approved in the United States, remdesivir, is for people hospitalized with COVID-19.
AP Health writer Matthew Perrone contributed to this report.
The Associated Press Health and Science Division receives support from the Howard Hughes Health Institute’s Science Education Department. AP is solely responsible for all content.
https://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/news/coronavirus/covid-antiviral-pills-arrive-at-locations-in-pennsylvania-and-nj/3104597/ COVID antiviral drugs have arrived at locations in Pennsylvania and NJ – NBC10 Philadelphia