Canadians will soon be able to take a prescription pill to mitigate COVID-19 systems, now that Health Canada has approved Pfizer’s oral antiviral pill, Paxlovid.
The medication has been authorized for use by adults with mild to moderate COVID-19 symptoms who are at high risk of developing serious disease.
According to a press release from Health Canada, the active ingredient nirmatrelvir in Paxlovid works by stopping the virus from replicating.
The treatment is the first COVID-19 therapy that can be taken at home. Prior to this, authorized medications for the virus had to be taken in a hospital or healthcare setting.
The drug is intended for use as soon as possible after diagnosis of COVID-19 and within five days of the start of symptoms, according to Health Canada.
The treatment consists of two tablets of nirmatrelvir and one tablet of ritonavir taken together by mouth twice per day for five days.
Paxlovid becomes the first COVID-19 antiviral therapeutic drug in Canada.
Health Canada said they received the submission request from Pfizer on December 1st. Laboratory tests indicate that the oral antiviral pills are effective against the Omicron variant.
“The benefits of Paxlovid outweigh the risks, but the antiviral pills could have interactions with other drugs. Canada signed a contract with Pfizer to initially purchase one million doses of the oral antiviral pills,” the press release read.