RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Paxlovid was to be sold as another “breakthrough” in the fight against Covid-19. But the clinical studies on the drug’s efficacy from the pharmaceutical giant itself can hardly be considered conclusive.
Its use can lead to significant interactions with other drugs and generally unpleasant side effects (for example, patients complain of a very persistent metallic taste in the mouth and diarrhea and vomiting). It cannot prevent infections like the vaunted vaccine, although this is quite common for antiviral drugs.
However, the drug has been increasingly used in the USA in recent weeks – but with disappointing results. The fact that the CDC now finds it necessary to point out the risk of “rebounds” after treatment is not helpful to Pfizer.
Although officials are at pains to emphasize that the drug nevertheless has a benefit, medical experts point out that, on the one hand, the risk of relapses is much higher than indicated. On the other, patients with relapses after treatment can also infect other people again. U.S. authorities urge sufferers to re-quarantine themselves if they relapse.
NEW—FDA has issued remarks about Paxlovid and the recurrence / rebound 🏀 of positive #COVID19 after a negative. FDA admits it definitely happens but claims it’s only 1-2% with rebound in the trials, & no clinical guidance change. But I count more than 1%. https://t.co/qWPckRM2Db pic.twitter.com/kbpdETrVoh
— Eric Feigl-Ding (@DrEricDing) May 5, 2022
Doctors are drawing clear conclusions from this – and are again increasingly refraining from prescribing the drug. Dr. Bruce Farber, head of public health and epidemiology at Northwell Health, told Reuters that the drug could still be used in high-risk patients but would prefer not to prescribe it to anyone else.
This will not have a positive effect on Pfizer’s revenues.