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What You Need to Know About Pfizer’s New Anti-viral

  • Category: Coronavirus
  • Posted On:
  • Written By: Baton Rouge General
What You Need to Know About Pfizer’s New Anti-viral

You may have heard about the new antiviral pill authorized to treat COVID. The FDA recently authorized Pfizer’s Paxlovid for people over 12 with symptoms of COVID. When taken within the first few days of having the virus, Paxlovid reduces the risk of hospitalization or death by up to 88%.

While the new pill is promising, it isn’t for everyone. Paxlovid is not recommended for people who take statins, antidepressants, or blood thinners – which includes about 30% of Americans. It’s also not recommended for people with liver or kidney damage. Paxlovid combines a new antiviral drug- nirmatrelvir and ritonavir, a drug that has been on the market for years. Nirmatrelvir inhibits a SARS-CoV-2 protein from replicating while ritonavir slows down nirmatrelvir’s breakdown to help it remain in the body for a longer period at higher concentrations.

Combined with vaccines and monoclonal antibody infusions, this new treatment is another tool to help us prevent worst case scenarios with COVID. Of course, like any drug, it comes with risks. Possible side effects include diarrhea, high blood pressure, muscle aches, and an impaired sense of taste.

Paxlovid is being distributed in small quantities around Louisiana and in the U.S. with larger quantities expected in the coming weeks. It is available by prescription within 5 days of symptom onset and is administered as three tablets taken together orally twice a day for five consecutive days. Talk to your doctor about whether you would qualify for Paxlovid and whether it is right for you.

While this new antiviral is used to treat COVID, being fully vaccinated and boosted, along with masking, hand washing and avoiding large crowds, is your best protection against COVID. For information on getting a vaccine, visit