Paxlovid May Lower The Risk Of Long-Term Covid In Certain Patients- Study Says

Nikki Attkisson | Last Updated : November 9, 2022

According to a new study done by the US Department of Veterans Affair (VA), Paxlovid, the antiviral pill by Pfizer that helps reduce the risk of hospitalization in Covid can also reduce the risk of long covid. The study analyzed the records of more than 56,000 veterans who had Covid-19.

In those, around 9000 veterans were treated with Paxlovid during the first five days of their infection. The results showed that those who used the antiviral drug were at a 26 percent reduced risk of having long covid issues like liver disease, blood disorders, muscle pains, shortness of breath, cardiovascular conditions, etc.

This means that out of every 100 people, 2.3 fewer cases were recorded after three months of covid diagnosis. However, the analysis couldn’t find any active connection between Paxlovid and two long covid conditions, the onset of diabetes and cough. 

In Certain Patients, Paxlovid May Reduce The Risk Of Long-Term Covid

The study was posted to the medRxiv preprint server and it hasn’t been peer-reviewed or published in any medical journal. Patients who were recorded for the study were in the average age group of 65 and had been diagnosed with covid between March 1 and June 30 this year.

Paxlovid May Lower The Risk Of Long-Term Covid In Certain Patients

All of them had at least one preexisting condition that increased their covid complications like smoking, old age, or diabetes. It was seen that Paxlovid cut down the risk of patients who were vaccinated, boosted, or even unvaccinated. People who had gotten their first covid infection or reinfection also benefitted from Paxlovid.  

Dr.Ziyad Al-Aly, chief of research and development at the VA St.Louis Health Care System and who heads the current study, said that Paxlovid was already known to prevent the risk of hospitalization or progression of severe covid symptoms. But now there is evidence that it helps to decrease the risk of long covid symptoms too. Al-Aly was hopeful that this new study would be an important topic in the fight against long covid.

However, there were some limitations also for the study as the range of subjects chosen was mostly White males. The study was done on Paxlovid systems used through the VA system and it tried to analyze only 12 long covid conditions although a lot of people complain about various other symptoms too. 

Millions of people in the US and across the world are suffering from multiple symptoms caused by Long covid. As of today, there are no specific treatment methods for long covid. Paxlovid is an antiviral drug that is a combination of nirmatrelvir and ritonavir. The drug can be given to even kids till the age of 12 and is shown to have great efficiency in reducing the risk of covid complications to a large extent. 

The drug comes as a pill and should be taken orally for 5 days. It works best when taken within 5 days of symptoms onset. Researchers aren’t sure of the benefits of the drug if taken for a longer duration or at a higher dose for long covid conditions.

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Last month, the National Institute of Health Care initiated another study to test the effects of Paxlovid on patients who are already experiencing symptoms of long covid. The authors of the current study stated that the uptake and usage of Nirmatrelvir should be improved during the acute phase as it would help not only in preventing complications in Covid but also as a precautionary therapy in the prevention of post-acute symptoms which can last over a longer time.

Long covid has been a major cause of concern among researchers and medical health experts as we are crossing the 2-year mark of the pandemic. Even today the infection is showing new methods of aggression that can stay in the body for an extended period of time and cause long-term issues for multiple organs like the heart, kidney, and liver.      

Nikki Attkisson

With over 15 years as a practicing journalist, Nikki Attkisson found herself at Powdersville Post now after working at several other publications. She is an award-winning journalist with an entrepreneurial spirit and worked as a journalist covering technology, innovation, environmental issues, politics, health etc. Nikki Attkisson has also worked on product development, content strategy, and editorial management for numerous media companies. She began her career at local news stations and worked as a reporter in national newspapers.

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