Limited anti-viral COVID pills arrive in NW Ohio
TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - New medications to treat COVID in pill form are now available to patients, although in limited supply.
Pfizer’s Paxlovid and Merck’s Molnupiravir are both anti-viral COVID-19 pills that block the virus’s ability to replicate.
But there is a very low inventory of the drug and states are only able to distribute it in very small amounts to hospital outpatient pharmacies in Ohio.
In Michigan, the supply is just as limited, but the medication will be distributed to Meijer Pharmacies.
Mercy Health Dr. James Tita, MD says “It’s very limited, I think our allocation for this week was less than 20 doses.”
Both of the medications need to be given at the first onset of COVID or they don’t work. Tita says “It needs to be within 5 days of the onset of symptoms. Preferably within 3 to work. And you need to have at least one risk factor for serious disease.”
The serious disease criteria include the unvaccinated according to Dr. Brian Kaminski from ProMedica. “It does give deference to those people that are unvaccinated because they’re at the highest risk. And those people that are immunocompromised, so people that are at the upper age limits and those that are immunocompromised, as defined by the CDC.”
The pills need to be taken for five days in a row and you can’t be so sick that you’re in the hospital. The medications are being distributed locally at Toledo Hospital’s outpatient pharmacy and also at its Fostoria and Lima locations. For Mercy, it will be available at its St. V’s outpatient pharmacy and at its Defiance Clinic outpatient pharmacy.
Doctors say they anticipate that supplies will increase by the Spring, which will not help with the current Omicron wave that continues to overwhelm hospitals.
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