Avera Medical Minute: Paxlovid and the future of COVID care

Published: Aug. 15, 2022 at 10:32 PM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - The COVID antiviral therapy Paxlovid has been in the news as of late after President Biden was prescribed the medication following his positive COVID-19 test.

Paxlovid is also being prescribed to patients in South Dakota, like Michele Prestbo, who contracted COVID about a month ago.

“By Tuesday afternoon, I was really sick. I had a fever, I had chills, I never really got the cough but I had a fever and I had chills and my throat was really sore, I was really fatigued,” she said.

Because Prestbo has underlying health conditions like rheumatoid arthritis and asthma, doctors felt she was a good candidate for the antiviral therapy Paxlovid.

“It definitely took some of our weight away from it knowing there was something we could do about it,” she said.

Paxlovid has been authorized for emergency use by the FDA.

It’s a five-day regimen that health officials say has given them the upper hand in treating COVID patients.

“It’s really given us a big step forward,” said Dr. David Basel, the Vice President of Clinical Quality with Avera Medical Group. “The number one reason is it’s the first real oral treatment and you don’t have to go in and get an hour-long injection or something like that with the monoclonals,” he said.

Paxlovid is generally prescribed to treat patients with mild-to-moderate COVID-19. “

So Paxlovid is pretty easy to qualify for,” said Dr. Basel. “You do have to be in the higher risk category, so older age ranges or medical comorbidity but there’s quite a bit of people who fall in that category, and once you do fall into that category, it’s pretty easy to get from a pharmacy.”

Prestbo said she noticed results almost immediately after taking the drug.

“Then I took the second dose of Paxlovid that night and had a good night, woke up the next morning and I was doing better by then,” she said,

Paxlovid is another tool in the fight against COVID-19, which health officials say doesn’t appear to be going away any time soon.

“We said early on if this gets to be more like the common cold, we’re going to be winning,’ said Dr. Basel. “And we’re getting in that direction.”

For more information on Paxlovid and COVID treatments, visit www.Avera.org/MedcialMinute

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