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As we speak, the U.S. Meals and Drug Administration issued an emergency use authorization (EUA) for Pfizer’s Paxlovid (nirmatrelvir tablets and ritonavir tablets, co-packaged for oral use) for the therapy of mild-to-moderate coronavirus illness (COVID-19) in adults and pediatric sufferers (12 years of age and older weighing at the least 40 kilograms or about 88 kilos) with constructive outcomes of direct SARS-CoV-2 testing, and who’re at excessive threat for development to extreme COVID-19, together with hospitalization or loss of life. Paxlovid is on the market by prescription solely and needs to be initiated as quickly as doable after analysis of COVID-19 and inside 5 days of symptom onset. 

“As we speak’s authorization introduces the primary therapy for COVID-19 that’s within the type of a capsule that’s taken orally — a serious step ahead within the combat in opposition to this world pandemic,” mentioned Patrizia Cavazzoni, M.D., director of the FDA’s Heart for Drug Analysis and Analysis. “This authorization offers a brand new instrument to fight COVID-19 at a vital time within the pandemic as new variants emerge and guarantees to make antiviral therapy extra accessible to sufferers who’re at excessive threat for development to extreme COVID-19.” 

Paxlovid will not be approved for the pre-exposure or post-exposure prevention of COVID-19 or for initiation of therapy in these requiring hospitalization as a result of extreme or important COVID-19. Paxlovid will not be an alternative choice to vaccination in people for whom COVID-19 vaccination and a booster dose are beneficial. The FDA has authorised one vaccine and approved others to forestall COVID-19 and critical medical outcomes related to a COVID-19 an infection, together with hospitalization and loss of life. The FDA urges the general public to get vaccinated and obtain a booster if eligible. Study extra about FDA-approved or -authorized COVID-19 vaccines.

Paxlovid consists of nirmatrelvir, which inhibits a SARS-CoV-2 protein to cease the virus from replicating, and ritonavir, which slows down nirmatrelvir’s breakdown to assist it stay within the physique for an extended interval at greater concentrations. Paxlovid is run as three tablets (two tablets of nirmatrelvir and one pill of ritonavir) taken collectively orally twice every day for 5 days, for a complete of 30 tablets. Paxlovid will not be approved to be used for longer than 5 consecutive days. 

The issuance of an EUA is totally different than an FDA approval. In figuring out whether or not to subject an EUA, the FDA evaluates the totality of scientific proof obtainable and punctiliously balances any recognized or potential dangers with any recognized or potential advantages of the product. Based mostly on the FDA’s evaluation of the totality of the scientific proof obtainable, the company has decided that it’s cheap to consider that Paxlovid could also be efficient for the therapy of mild-to-moderate COVID-19 in approved sufferers. The company has additionally decided that the recognized and potential advantages of Paxlovid, when used in line with the phrases and situations of the authorization, outweigh the recognized and potential dangers of the product. There are not any sufficient, authorised and obtainable alternate options to Paxlovid for the therapy of COVID-19. 

The first knowledge supporting this EUA for Paxlovid are from EPIC-HR, a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled medical trial learning Paxlovid for the therapy of non-hospitalized symptomatic adults with a laboratory confirmed analysis of SARS-CoV-2 an infection. Sufferers had been adults 18 years of age and older with a prespecified threat issue for development to extreme illness or had been 60 years and older no matter prespecified continual medical situations. All sufferers had not obtained a COVID-19 vaccine and had not been beforehand contaminated with COVID-19. The primary final result measured within the trial was the proportion of people that had been hospitalized as a result of COVID-19 or died as a result of any trigger throughout 28 days of follow-up. Paxlovid considerably lowered the proportion of individuals with COVID-19 associated hospitalization or loss of life from any trigger by 88% in comparison with placebo amongst sufferers handled inside 5 days of symptom onset and who didn’t obtain COVID-19 therapeutic monoclonal antibody therapy. On this evaluation, 1,039 sufferers had obtained Paxlovid, and 1,046 sufferers had obtained placebo and amongst these sufferers, 0.8% who obtained Paxlovid had been hospitalized or died throughout 28 days of follow-up in comparison with 6% of the sufferers who obtained placebo. The protection and effectiveness of Paxlovid for the therapy of COVID-19 proceed to be evaluated.

Potential unwanted side effects of Paxlovid embody impaired sense of style, diarrhea, hypertension and muscle aches. Utilizing Paxlovid concurrently sure different medication could end in doubtlessly important drug interactions. Utilizing Paxlovid in folks with uncontrolled or undiagnosed HIV-1 an infection could result in HIV-1 drug resistance. Ritonavir could trigger liver injury, so warning needs to be exercised when giving Paxlovid to sufferers with preexisting liver ailments, liver enzyme abnormalities or liver irritation.  

As a result of Paxlovid works, partially, by inhibiting a gaggle of enzymes that break down sure medication, Paxlovid is contraindicated with sure medication which are extremely depending on these enzymes for metabolism and for which elevated concentrations of sure medication are related to critical and/or life-threatening reactions. Paxlovid can also be contraindicated with medication that, conversely, strongly induce those self same enzymes, resulting in the sooner breakdown of nirmatrelvir or ritonavir, as lowered concentrations of nirmatrelvir or ritonavir could also be related to doubtlessly shedding virologic response and creating viral resistance. Paxlovid can’t be began instantly after discontinuing such medicines as a result of the consequences of these medicines stay after discontinuation. For a whole listing of medication that shouldn’t be taken together with Paxlovid, see the very fact sheet for healthcare suppliers.

Paxlovid will not be beneficial in sufferers with extreme kidney or extreme liver impairment. In sufferers with reasonable renal impairment, a lowered Paxlovid dose is required. Sufferers with kidney or liver issues ought to talk about with their healthcare supplier whether or not Paxlovid is correct for them. 

Beneath the EUA, truth sheets that present essential details about utilizing Paxlovid within the therapy of COVID-19 as approved have to be made obtainable to healthcare suppliers and to sufferers and caregivers. These truth sheets embody dosing directions, potential unwanted side effects, drug interactions and details about who is ready to prescribe Paxlovid.

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The FDA, an company inside the U.S. Division of Well being and Human Companies, protects the general public well being by assuring the protection, effectiveness, and safety of human and veterinary medication, vaccines and different organic merchandise for human use, and medical units. The company is also liable for the protection and safety of our nation’s meals provide, cosmetics, dietary dietary supplements, merchandise that give off digital radiation, and for regulating tobacco merchandise.