Covid-19: the Paxlovid pill authorized by the High Authority for Health arrives in France

The health authorities validated on Friday January 21 the use of the antiviral Paxlovid as a curative treatment against Covid-19. The first deliveries of this drug are expected in France within a few days. The government has ordered 500,000 doses for 2022.

It is the first oral treatment against Covid validated in France. Paxlovid, developed by the American laboratory Pfizer, will now be able to be used as a treatment curative against Covid-19, announced the High Authority for Health. The latter, however, specified that this treatment was above all intended for populations at risk (very elderly, immunocompromised people, suffering from certain rare diseases, etc.).

Following the opinion of the National Medicines Agency, the HAS “authorizes early access to the Paxlovid (nirmatrelvir/ritonavir) treatment from the Pfizer laboratory for adults with Covid-19 who do not require oxygen therapy and are at high risk of progressing to a severe form of the disease”, she said in a statement.

This pill is taken orally as three tablets per day for five days. It is recommended to take it as soon as possible after the positive diagnosis for Covid-19 and at most within five days of the onset of symptoms. Effective against Omicron, this treatment reduces the risk of being hospitalized or dying from Covid by around 85%, according to clinical studies.

In its opinion, the HAS notes, however, that the antiviral is contraindicated in people with severe hepatic insufficiency or severe renal insufficiency. It also points to the significant risk of drug interactions when taking Paxlovid for patients taking another treatment.

Following this authorization, the first deliveries are expected in France within a week. “We have reserved 500,000 doses in 2022 and the first deliveries – a few thousand doses – are expected within a week”, said Thursday, January 20 the entourage of the Minister of Health, Olivier Véran. The deployment of the treatment will be done in particular via a prescription by general practitioners, in all pharmacies.

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