Antiviral pills to treat COVID-19 have started entering Malaysia. The Malaysian Health Ministry said the first shipment of 48,000 boxes of Paxlovid Pfizer pills had arrived yesterday, Free Malaysia Today reported.
The pill now being sent to Pharmaniaga Logistic Sdn Bhd is understood to be not a substitute for the COVID-19 vaccine or a preventative drug to prevent infection, but it is one of the weapons to fight COVID-19, said health director-general, Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah.
Noor Hisham said the pill was recommended for Covid-19 patients aged 18 and above, who were not in the high-risk category and who did not require oxygen therapy. He added that for optimal effectiveness, the pill should be taken immediately after the patient is confirmed positive, or within five days after showing symptoms.
Who is eligible for the antiviral pill?
Pfizer's Paxlovid is for people who:
- Have tested positive for COVID-19 and have not yet been admitted to the hospital
- Are high risk for developing severe COVID-19 symptoms
- Are 12 years of age or older (and at least 40kg)
How does it work?
Paxlovid actually consists of 2 pills, nirmatrelvir and ritonavir. Nirmatrelvir stops key proteins that are needed by the virus to duplicate itself from functioning while ritonavir which stops nirmatrelvir from breaking down before it has done its job.
You will have to take two nirmatrelvir tablets and one ritonavir tablet two times a day for five days in order for it to help fight the virus.
What are the side effects?
If you have allergies or any health conditions or are taking any other medications make sure to inform your doctor before taking Paxlovid.
Just like any other medication, Paxlovid has its side effects too such as:
- Impaired sense of taste
- High blood pressure
- Muscle aches
Have you got COVID-19 before? Share your experience in the comments section!