Last week, the FDA authorized two much-hyped antiviral treatments for COVID (just in time for Christmas): Merck’s Molnupiravir and Pfizer’s Paxlovid.
Almost immediately after the first data were released, critics were questioning the drugs’ safety profile. But now that the first courses of these “miracle” drugs are finding their way into patients’ bloodstreams, the mainstream media apparently now feels it’s safe to share some of these criticisms with the public.
To wit, NBC News reports that these medications will require “careful monitoring” by prescribing doctors. This could create problems and make doctors more reluctant to prescribe the meds as the omicron-driven winter wave “pummels” America’s supposedly creaking health-care system.
As the omicron surge pummels a pandemic-weary nation, the first antiviral pills for Covid-19 promise desperately needed protection for people at risk of severe disease. However, many people prescribed Pfizer’s or Merck’s new medications will require careful monitoring by doctors and pharmacists, and the antivirals may not be safe for everyone, experts caution.
As a reminder, the FDA only authorized Paxlovid – the Pfizer drug – to treat “mild to moderate” COVID in people as young as 12 who have underlying conditions that raise the risk of hospitalization and death.
Unfortunately, both Pfizer’s and Merck’s drugs come with some serious drawbacks, the biggest being that they can cause life-threatening reactions with widely used medications like statins – taken by people with high blood pressure – blood thinners, and even some antidepressants.