COVID-19 Treatments for People with Disabilities
Please note: It is strongly recommended that individuals learn about the benefits of getting vaccinated. PAXLOVID is a type of treatment that can help you recover from COVID-19.
What is PAXLOVID?
PAXLOVID is the brand name of an investigational medicine by Pfizer used to treat mild-to-moderate COVID-19 in adults and children who are at high risk for progression to severe COVID-19, including hospitalization or death. Investigational means that this treatment is still under investigation to see if its safe and works to treat people who may need help with getting better from COVID-19. This medicine helps keep people from getting so sick they have to go to the hospital.
PAXLOVID is made up of two medications:
A doctor prescribes PAXLOVID and you can take it at home.
PAXLOVID was authorized in December 2021 by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for Emergency Use Authorization (EUA). This means that it passed FDA tests to be able to be used.
How does it work?
PAXLOVID is an antiviral pill medication made by Pfizer that is used to treat COVID-19 symptoms. Antiviral medicine is used to help your body fight sickness caused by a virus.
PAXLOVID is a package of two medications that are taken together.
- There are 3 types of pills in a package of PAXLOVID
- 2 pills are a medicine called nirmatrelvir. This medicine keeps the virus (SARS-CoV-2) from creating more proteins
- 1 pill is a medicine called ritonavir. Ritonavir helps support the other medication by making it last longer so that it can fight your COVID-19 infection
- You need to start taking PAXLOVID within the first 5 days of getting or feeling sick from COVID-19.
Who can take PAXLOVID?
Currently, in order to take PAXLOVID you must:
- Test positive for COVID-19
- Be 12 years and older
- Weigh at least 88 pounds
- Be at high risk of getting very sick or dying from COVID-19
Many people with disabilities, including people with health conditions are at greater risk of getting so sick they need to go to the hospital and sometimes even dying from COVID-19. You should talk to your doctor about PAXLOVID as a possible treatment if you get sick with COVID-19. You may have to advocate for yourself to get them to prescribe it. Also, ask your doctor for assistance with finding a pharmacy who can fill your prescription.
How can I get PAXLOVID?
You will need to talk to your doctor. Your doctor will decide if you are able to take PAXLOVID. Your doctor can write a prescription for PAXLOVID if you can take the medicine. Your pharmacy can fill the prescription if they have PAXLOVID. You may have to go to another pharmacy if they dont have the medicine. You can pick up the prescription and take the pills at home.
What happens when I take PAXLOVID?
When you get PAXLOVID, you should start the first dose as soon as possible.
- You will take 3 pills for each dose--- 3 pills in the morning and 3 pills at night.
- You will take the medicine for 5 days.
- In total, you will take 30 pills
Some people have experienced a “Rebound,” of symptoms a few days after they finish their treatment. Some people have also had positive COVID test results during this time period as well. Scientists are studying why this happens. If you do experience this rebound, make sure to tell your doctor and have it reported to Pfizer.
How well does PAXLOVID work?
PAXLOVID’s clinical trial showed that PAXLOVID makes you less likely to have to go to the hospital due to severe COVID-19 illness. This study showed that people were 89% less likely to have to go to the hospital and also less likely to die.
What are the side effects of PAXLOVID?
Most reports of side effects say that the side effects are mild.
Possible side effects of PAXLOVID are:
- Allergic Reactions. Allergic reactions can happen in people taking PAXLOVID, even after only 1 dose. Stop taking PAXLOVID and call your healthcare provider right away if you get any of the following symptoms of an allergic reaction:
- trouble swallowing or breathing
- swelling of the mouth, lips, or face o throat tightness
- skin rash
- Liver Problems. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you have any of these signs and symptoms of liver problems: loss of appetite, yellowing of your skin and the whites of eyes (jaundice), dark-colored urine, pale colored stools and itchy skin, stomach area (abdominal) pain.
- Resistance to HIV Medicines. If you have untreated HIV infection, PAXLOVID may lead to some HIV medicines not working as well in the future.
- Other possible side effects include:
- altered sense of taste which means your mouth may taste different and even bad
- high blood pressure
- muscle aches
These are not all the possible side effects of PAXLOVID. Not many people have taken PAXLOVID. Serious and unexpected side effects may happen. PAXLOVID is still being studied, so it is possible that all of the risks are not known at this time.
When you talk to your doctor about PAXLOVID, make sure to tell them about all of your medicines and any health concerns.
Your doctor can help you make sure you can take PAXLOVID or find a different treatment.
Yale Medicine. (2022). “13 Things to Know about PAXLOVID.” https://www.yalemedicine.org/news/13-things-to-know-PAXLOVID-covid-19#:~:text=PAXLOVID%20is%20an%20antiviral%20therapy,CoV%2D2%20protein%20from%20replicating.
Hammond, J., Leister-Tebbe, H., Abreu, P., Bao, W., Wisemandle, W., & Baniecki, M. (2022, April 14). Oral Nirmatrelvir for High-Risk, Nonhospitalized Adults with Covid-19. New England Journal of Medicine, 2022(386), 1397-1408. https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa2118542
Previously, this page contained information on the drug Evusheld. In January of 2023, the FDA removed Evusheld from the market. Evusheld is no longer provided because it is no longer effective against the latest variants of the COVID-19 virus.
Source: Food and Drug Administration