posted on 05/09/2022 06:00
Paxlovid pills, at a factory in Germany: drug is indicated for elderly people with mild cases of the disease – (credit: AFP)
The Ministry of Health approved the use in the Unified Health System (SUS) of the first oral medicine for mild to moderate cases of covid-19. The announcement was made on the 6th by the folder. This is Paxlovid, manufactured by the pharmaceutical company Pfizer and composed of the drugs nirmatrelvir and ritonavir, packaged and administered together. The ministry has 180 days, after publication of the incorporation, to make the technology available on the public network.
With the potential to prevent the disease from worsening, the drug will be offered to immunocompromised adult patients or patients aged 65 years or older. The treatment can only be used in case of a positive test for covid-19 and within five days after the onset of symptoms, with a prescription, the ministry said. As for the dosage, it is 300mg of nirmatrelvir (two 150mg tablets) with 100mg of ritonavir (one tablet), all taken together, orally, twice a day for five days.
Paxlovid has been shown to reduce the risk of hospitalization and death by up to 89% in risk groups. According to the Ministry of Health, nirmatrelvir is a molecule that inhibits an important enzyme of the coronavirus, preventing it from proliferating. Ritonavir inhibits another enzyme that degrades nirmatrelvir. By the decision made by the folder, a reassessment will also be made in up to 12 months on the use of the drug.
Last Thursday, the National Commission for the Incorporation of Technologies in the Unified Health System (Conitec) recommended the incorporation of the remedy in the SUS. It also recommended avoiding its use during pregnancy, and in patients with severe renal impairment or renal failure. Before Anvisa, the drug had already been authorized by agencies in the United States, the European Union, Canada, China, Australia, Japan, the United Kingdom and Mexico. Last month, the Ministry of Health had incorporated the drug baricitinib for severe cases of the virus.
The vice president of the Society of Infectious Diseases of the Federal District, Alexandre Cunha, explained that the medication has potent antiviral action. However, he stressed that the vaccine is still the most effective mode of immunization.
“The drug prevents the disease from progressing to more severe forms and can help the population. But the vaccine remains the most effective method. In cases where the vaccine is not as effective, among the elderly and people with low immunity, these medications can be used as adjuvants. Medication is welcome. It is another weapon in the fight against covid-19, especially for the population that has not been able to immunize itself properly”, he concluded.