Health Canada approves Pfizer’s antiviral treatment for COVID-19

The Canadian Press

Health Canada has approved Pfizer’s antiviral treatment for COVID-19.

The authorization posted to the Health Canada website this morning says the treatment is greenlighted for adult patients with mild or moderate COVID-19 who are also at high risk of progressing to serious disease, including hospitalization or death.

The active ingredient nirmatrelvir in Paxlovid works by stopping the virus from replicating, according to Health Canada.

Health Canada did not authorize it for use on teenagers.

It is also not authorized for use on patients who are already hospitalized because of COVID-19.

Paxlovid is a treatment that uses a combination of drugs to prevent the virus that causes COVID-19 from replicating once it has infected a patient.

Until now, authorized medications for COVID-19 have had to be taken in a hospital or healthcare setting. Paxlovid is the first COVID-19 therapy that can be taken at home.

Health Canada says the drug is intended for use as soon as possible after diagnosis of COVID-19 and within five days of the start of symptoms.

The treatment consists of two tablets of nirmatrelvir and one tablet of ritonavir taken together by mouth twice per day for five days.

While the benefits of Paxlovid were found to outweigh the risks, Health Canada does caution that it can cause interactions with other medications for some patients.

Paxlovid becomes the first COVID antiviral therapeutic drug in Canada.

Clinical trials show it was almost 90 per cent effective at preventing serious illness in higher-risk patients who received it within the first five days of being infected.

For detailed information on authorized vaccines and treatments in Canada, visit the COVID-19 vaccines and treatments portal.


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