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Pfizer COVID treatment drug gets Health Canada nod

Pfizer COVID treatment drug gets Health Canada nod

Finally there is a home-based treatment available for COVID. Health Canada has authorized the Pfizer drug PAXLOVID), to treat adults with mild to moderate COVID-19 who are at high risk of progressing to serious disease, including hospitalization or death. The active ingredient nirmatrelvir in PAXLOVID works by stopping the virus from replicating. The drug treatment had already received approval in the US.

Until now, authorized medications for COVID-19 have had to be taken in a hospital or healthcare setting. PAXLOVID is the first COVID-19 therapy that can be taken at home. The drug is intended for use as soon as possible after diagnosis of COVID-19 and within five days of the start of symptoms.  The treatment consists of two tablets of nirmatrelvir and one tablet of ritonavir taken together by mouth twice per day for five days.

Health Canada received the submission for PAXLOVID from Pfizer on December 1, 2021, and conducted an expedited review. Pfizer submitted the data to Health Canada on a rolling basis throughout the review process, as new information became available to facilitate a decision as quickly as possible. These data included results from clinical trials for PAXLOVIDTM where patients had not been vaccinated and had not previously been infected with COVID-19.

While the benefits of Paxlovid were found to outweigh the risks, it can cause interactions with other medications for some patients. As such, patients should discuss the risks and benefits of treatment with their healthcare provider.

Heath Canada noted in a release, “no drug, including PAXLOVID, is a substitute for vaccination. Vaccination remains the most important tool in preventing serious illness from COVID-19 infection. Both the Public Health Agency of Canada and Health Canada continue to strongly recommend vaccination for all eligible Canadians, including those who are pregnant, may become pregnant or are breast-feeding.

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