New COVID-19 anti-viral pill now available in California

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Some Sacramento County health clinics now offer a new COVID-19 anti-viral pill experts say can help keep people out of the hospital. But experts say it’s not for everyone.”It’s a gamechanger in a lot of ways,” said Timothy Cutler, assistant chief of pharmacy at UC Davis Health. “Viruses, like the coronavirus, need certain enzymes to survive, and this blocks one of those enzymes.”Late December, the Food and Drug Administration cleared Pfizer’s Paxlovid for the treatment of mild-to-moderate symptoms in adults and children ages 12 and older. Shortly after, California began distributing the treatment to some health providers. In Sacramento County, Paxlovid is only available to patients at UC Davis Health, or through the county’s primary care clinic. “It feels great knowing it’s out there,” said Dr. Vanessa Walker, critical care physician with Pulmonary Medicine Associates. “We’re trying to prevent people from having to go to the hospital or emergency department.” “Now we have a therapy that can be prescribed by … doctors and given in an outpatient environment,” Cutler said.Paxlovid is not for everyone. Patients showing mild to moderate symptoms must also be at high risk of hospitalization or death. Supplies of the drug are also extremely limited. “I don’t think this drug replaces the vaccine in any way,” Walker said. “By no means should you say, ‘oh there’s a pill, I don’t need to get vaccinated. Please, the vaccine is very important in preventing severe illness.””There’s so many infections right now across the country, there’s not enough medication to treat all the people who need it at this time,” Cutler said.UC Davis is currently providing the pill only to its highest-risk patients. Officials are advising anyone considering Paxlovid to consult with their trusted primary care doctor.”There are a lot of medications that interact with this new therapy so it has to be closely monitored,” Cutler said.On Saturday, UC Davis Health broke another troubling record. The hospital reported treating a historic 131 COVID-19 patients. People are encouraged to get vaccinated and boosted. (Video above shows current health data from California on COVID-19)| RELATED | COVID-19 in California: Find testing info, omicron updates, vaccine rates and boosters

Some Sacramento County health clinics now offer a new COVID-19 anti-viral pill experts say can help keep people out of the hospital. But experts say it’s not for everyone.

“It’s a gamechanger in a lot of ways,” said Timothy Cutler, assistant chief of pharmacy at UC Davis Health. “Viruses, like the coronavirus, need certain enzymes to survive, and this blocks one of those enzymes.”

Late December, the Food and Drug Administration cleared Pfizer’s Paxlovid for the treatment of mild-to-moderate symptoms in adults and children ages 12 and older. Shortly after, California began distributing the treatment to some health providers.

In Sacramento County, Paxlovid is only available to patients at UC Davis Health, or through the county’s primary care clinic.

“It feels great knowing it’s out there,” said Dr. Vanessa Walker, critical care physician with Pulmonary Medicine Associates. “We’re trying to prevent people from having to go to the hospital or emergency department.”

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“Now we have a therapy that can be prescribed by … doctors and given in an outpatient environment,” Cutler said.

Paxlovid is not for everyone. Patients showing mild to moderate symptoms must also be at high risk of hospitalization or death.

Supplies of the drug are also extremely limited.

“I don’t think this drug replaces the vaccine in any way,” Walker said. “By no means should you say, ‘oh there’s a pill, I don’t need to get vaccinated. Please, the vaccine is very important in preventing severe illness.”

“There’s so many infections right now across the country, there’s not enough medication to treat all the people who need it at this time,” Cutler said.

UC Davis is currently providing the pill only to its highest-risk patients. Officials are advising anyone considering Paxlovid to consult with their trusted primary care doctor.

“There are a lot of medications that interact with this new therapy so it has to be closely monitored,” Cutler said.

On Saturday, UC Davis Health broke another troubling record. The hospital reported treating a historic 131 COVID-19 patients. People are encouraged to get vaccinated and boosted.

(Video above shows current health data from California on COVID-19)

| RELATED | COVID-19 in California: Find testing info, omicron updates, vaccine rates and boosters



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