FDA authorizes first antiviral pill for COVID-19

Staff Report
This image provided by Pfizer in October 2021 shows the company's COVID-19 Paxlovid pills.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently issued an Emergency Use Authorization for Pfizer’s Paxlovid, the first oral treatment for COVID-19.

According to a news release from the Louisiana Department of Health, the pill can be used to treat mild-to-moderate coronavirus disease in adults and pediatric patients who are 12 years of age and older weighing at least 40 kilograms (about 88 pounds) who test positive for COVID-19 and are at high risk of hospitalization or death.

Paxlovid is available by prescription only and should be initiated as soon as possible after testing positive for COVID and within 5 days of symptom onset, LDH said.

Prescribers should be aware of the potential for significant drug interactions and contraindications for use with certain drugs. In addition, Paxlovid is not recommended in patients with severe kidney or severe liver impairment. In patients with moderate renal impairment, a reduced Paxlovid dose is needed.

Louisiana has received a very limited number of Paxlovid regimens. These pills have been allocated to a small number of independent pharmacies across the state. If you feel you may be a good candidate for the treatment, contact your provider or medical professional.