Are you a senior? What you should know about Paxlovid and COVID

Are you a senior? What you should know about Paxlovid and COVID

Be prepared before potential infection strikes.

If you are a senior, and particularly someone living with an underlying condition, you have probably already heard of Paxlovid. This is the oral antiviral drug therapy that consists of two separate medications that work together during the first few days of being infected with COVID-19.

Paxlovid can potentially reduce your chances of suffering from a serious or life-threatening case of COVID. How can you access it and when should you take it? Here’s a look.

When to Access Paxlovid

Health experts advise you take Paxlovid within the first five days of testing positive for COVID-19. In the US, Paxlovid is recommended for adults and children over the age of 12 who weigh at least 88 pounds, have mild to moderate cases of the virus, and are more likely to become very sick when infected. After you’ve been sick for a while, Paxlovid ceases to be as effective. It works best in the initial stages of infection and isn’t something that will save the life of someone who has already fallen very sick with COVID-19 and has been hospitalized.

How Paxlovid Works

As an antiviral, Paxlovid works by targeting specific areas of the virus that causes COVID-19 and prevents it from multiplying rapidly within you. The drugs do this by inhibiting a specific enzyme. This can help prevent a dreaded cytokine storm from occurring in your body and stop widespread inflammation before it begins. This means you can potentially recover faster and avoid being hospitalized or dying from the virus.

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Paxlovid therapy involves two medications, nirmatrelvir and ritonavir, taken twice daily for five days at home. There are three pills to take each time adding up to six pills a day.

Who is Paxlovid For?

As stated above, Paxlovid is an antiviral for people who are at risk of developing severe COVID. This treatment is for those who have tested positive and who are living with an underlying medical condition like cancer or obesity, or who are 65 or older.

Does Paxlovid Have Any Side Effects?

As with any medication, this one has possible side effects but many people are said to tolerate it well. According to Yale Medicine, these can include:

  • Nausea
  • Stomach pain
  • Aching muscles
  • Feeling unwell
  • Increase in blood pressure
  • Diarrhea
  • A change in your sense of taste

Serious side effects include:

  • A rash
  • Hives
  • Trouble breathing
  • Trouble swallowing
  • A tight throat
  • Swelling of your face, lips, and mouth

Stop taking Paxlovid immediately if you experience any of these symptoms and get medical help right away. You could be having a serious allergic reaction.

Experts advise it’s wise for seniors to develop a plan of what you’ll do if you catch COVID-19. Since it can be difficult at times to access a doctor exactly when you need one, it’s a good idea to talk with yours before you may fall sick.

Some people are on medication that can interact in dangerous ways with Paxlovid like certain blood thinners. Because of this, it’s essential to talk with your doctor about your plan and be ready to take the right course of action. Some might recommend you come off your blood thinner if you catch COVID so you can take Paxlovid, and others may not. In any case, if it can help, you may be able to obtain a prescription for Paxlovid to have on hand just in case you do test positive.

The pandemic has been declared over in the US but people continue to die from COVID -19 and seniors are particularly at risk. Protect your health. For more information on this topic click here.

photo credits: vovidzha/

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