FDA approves Pfizer pill for COVID-19 symptoms treatment

Coronavirus

This image provided by Pfizer in October 2021 shows the company’s COVID-19 Paxlovid pills. U.S. health regulators on Wednesday, Dec. 22, 2021 authorized the first pill against COVID-19, a Pfizer drug that Americans will be able to take at home to head off the worst effects of the virus. (Pfizer via AP)

The Food and Drug Administration recently approved the emergency use of pill to treat positive COVID-19 symptoms in people older than 12 and weighing at least 88 pounds. 

Patricia Cavazzoni, M.D., director of the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, said in a news release that this authorization is a step in the right direction in the fight against a global pandemic. 

“This authorization provides a new tool to combat COVID-19 at a crucial time in the pandemic as new variants emerge and promises to make antiviral treatment more accessible to patients who are at risk for progression to severe COVID-19,” Cavazzoni said.  

The tablet, Pfizer’s Paxlovid, is recommended for those at risk of hospitalization due to COVID-19 and is only available through prescription. It should be taken within five days of symptoms after a positive diagnosis, according to the FDA.

Paxlovid contains a total of three tablets that are to be taken together twice daily for a total of five days. The FDA said Paxlovid is not a substitution for one of the COVID-19 vaccines or booster doses.

The FDA said side effects include impaired sense of taste, diarrhea, high blood pressure and muscle aches. Additionally, Paxlovid is not recommended for those with liver diseases such as liver inflammation or those with severe kidney impairment. 

The FDA continues to encourage vaccines and booster doses for individuals not yet vaccinated.  

For more information visit the FDA website Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update: FDA Authorizes First Oral Antiviral for Treatment of COVID-19 | FDA 

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