Paxlovid For COVID-19: What Seniors Need To Know

COVID-19 has continued to be a global threat three years after the pandemic started. And while vaccinations have proven beneficial for the larger population, comprising children and young adults, older adults are still at high risk of developing severe illness after catching the virus. 

For seniors who have yet to catch Covid or those experiencing a repeat infection, the therapy of first choice is Paxlovid, an antiviral drug found to be very effective against Covid and the newer variants of SARS-CoV-2, as per CNN.

Paxlovid is notably useful for people with mild to moderate COVID-19 infection but at high risk for severe illness from the virus. All seniors aged 65 and above fall in this category, so experts recommend Paxlovid for their treatment. 

“There’s lots of evidence that Paxlovid can reduce the risk of catastrophic events that can follow infection with Covid in older individuals,” Dr. Harlan Krumholz, a professor of medicine at Yale University, told the outlet. 

Paxlovid treatment requires the administration of the drug to start no later than five days after the symptoms appear. And since older adults tend to have medications for other underlying conditions, there is a need for an evaluation by a medical provider to prevent unwanted and potentially dangerous drug interactions. 

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) officially authorized the use of Paxlovid as a treatment for COVID-19 in December 2021. At the time, the agency said the oral antiviral should be used for the treatment of mild-to-moderate infection in adults and pediatric patients. 

However, a study published in August 2022 found that the COVID-19 pill was not that effective in combating the viral disease in younger adults or those in the 40 to 64 age group. On the other hand, it reduced hospitalizations among patients 65 and above. 

In the same month, scientists reported “Paxlovid rebound” in some cases. The phenomenon refers to the sudden resurgence of COVID-19 symptoms after the virus ran its course in people taking Paxlovid. U.S. President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden experienced this condition, but experts insisted that only a small percentage of people would be affected by this. 

The common signs and symptoms of Paxlovid rebound are “very mild,” Dr. Rajesh Gandhi, an infectious disease expert and professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School told CNN this week, adding that they usually include “runny nose, nasal congestion and sore throat.” Serious complications from the drug are said to be uncommon. 

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