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HelixTalk #154 - What’s New With Paxlovid: Drug Interactions, Pharmacist Prescribing, “Paxlovid Mouth”, and a Brief Drug Review

Date posted: September 27, 2022, 6:00 am

In this episode, we review Paxlovid (nirmatrelvir/ritonavir) from the perspective of its pharmacology, efficacy, safety, pharmacists’ authority to prescribe, drug interactions, and rebound symptoms after Paxlovid therapy.


Key Concepts

  1. Paxlovid is the preferred outpatient therapy for COVID-19 in patients at high risk for progressing to severe COVID-19. It likely has similar efficacy to IV monoclonal antibodies and IV outpatient remdesivir but differences in vaccination rates and patient populations makes a direct comparison difficult.
  2. The 5-day course of Paxlovid is generally well tolerated. “Paxlovid mouth” (dysgeusia) is relatively common and is characterized by a terrible metallic or garbage-like taste in the mouth during therapy.
  3. As of July 2022, licensed pharmacists have the authority to assess patients for Paxlovid and prescribe the therapy; however, Medicare/Medicaid reimbursement has not clearly established how reimbursement of clinical services can occur.
  4. “Rebound” COVID-19 symptoms may or may not be due to Paxlovid (versus the natural course of the disease). If rebound symptoms occur, they are almost always mild or asymptomatic in nature and do not require additional treatment.