Pfizer’s pill against Covid can be dangerous when taken with other medications

In a recent revelation, experts have said that antiviral pills against Covid, may not be safe for everyone. After doctors and pharmacists closely analysed the pills, they concluded that these pills can be life-threatening when taken with other medications, reports NBC. 

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), recently gave heads up to two pills – Pfizer’s Paxlovid and Merck’s Molnupiravair. 

Paxlovid’s treatment is a combination of two pills taken over five days.

It has been authorised for mild to moderate Covid in people as young as 12 years, who have underlying conditions that increase the risk of hospitalisation and death from the coronavirus. 

The Paxlovid cocktail consists of two tablets of the antiviral nirmatrelvir and one tablet of ritonavir. However, FDA does not recommend Paxlovid for people with severe kidney and liver disease. This is because one of the two drugs in the antiviral cocktail could lead to severe consequences with widely used medications. These medications range from statins, blood thinners to several antidepressants.

In a report by The Hill, a spokesperson said, “The potential for drug-drug interactions (DDI) for Paxlovid was examined in a series of in vitro studies, as well as clinical DDI studies.”

He further added, “The product’s emergency use authorisation fact sheets include information on drug interactions and contraindications. Healthcare providers should consider the potential for drug interactions prior to and during Paxlovid therapy and review concomitant medications during Paxlovid therapy.”

In the case of Merck’s Molnupiravair, the FDA has already restricted its use to adults, only in scenarios in which other authorised treatments, including monoclonal antibodies, are not “clinically appropriate.” 

Emily Zadvorny, a clinical pharmacist who is the executive director of the Colorado Pharmacists Society, in a statement to NBC, said, “Pharmacists are highly trained experts in medication safety and monitoring and are an excellent source of information and advice about interactions between medications and also supplements and herbal products. They will help determine if a significant interaction exists and devise solutions to mitigate the interaction if possible.”

Pfizer’s treatment has previously been authorised in the European Union. The US has already paid for 10 million courses.

The authorisation comes as cases are surging across the US, driven by Omicron, the most infectious variant seen so far.

(With inputs from agencies)

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