CORONAVIRUS/COVID-19 antiviral drugs now available to patients in home quarantine

05/05/2022 06:16 PM
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Paxlovid, which consists of two different pills in a five-day course of treatment. Photo: Pfizer / Handout via Reuters
Paxlovid, which consists of two different pills in a five-day course of treatment. Photo: Pfizer / Handout via Reuters

Taipei, May 5 (CNA) COVID-19 patients in home quarantine are now able to receive the antiviral medications Paxlovid and molnupiravir, after 20,000 courses of the drugs were delivered to key pharmacies around the country, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said Thursday.

The drugs were previously only available to patients in hospitals, government quarantine centers or designated hotels.

Paxlovid can be prescribed to treat mild-to-moderate COVID-19 within five days of the onset of symptoms for adults and children aged 12 and above with a minimum weight of 40 kilograms, if they are assessed to be at high risk of developing severe illness.

Meanwhile, molnupiravir can be prescribed to treat patients aged 18 or above with mild to moderate COVID-19 within five days of the onset of symptoms if they are assessed to be at high risk of developing severe illness and cannot use other types of COVID-19 medication.

According to Lo Yi-chun (羅一鈞), deputy head of the CECC's medical response division, COVID-19 patients are considered high-risk if they are 65 years old and above, current or former smokers, have a body mass index (BMI) above 29, or certain disabilities.

The list also includes those who have cancer, diabetes, chronic kidney disease, cardiovascular diseases (excluding high blood pressure), chronic lung diseases, tuberculosis, chronic liver diseases, dementia, mental illnesses such as schizophrenia, and autoimmune diseases, Lo said.

COVID-19 patients quarantining at home can arrange a doctor's appointment via the EUCARE (健康益友) app (Google Android / Apple iOS) or local health authorities, where they will be evaluated to determine their eligibility to receive the antiviral drugs, Lo said.

After getting a prescription, patients can arrange for pharmacies to deliver the medication or have someone get it for them, either via the EUCARE app or by contacting a pharmacy directly.

Patients can see which pharmacies are participating in the program on the Federation of Taiwan Pharmacist Association website, Lo added.

Currently, Taiwan has used only 947 courses of Paxlovid and 468 courses of molnupiravir, out of the 370,000 and 5,000 courses that have been delivered, respectively, Lo said.

(By Chiang Yi-ching)

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> Chinese Version

Update (May 7)

Quarantine cut to 7 days for mild, asymptomatic COVID-19 cases: CECC

Taiwan rolls back quarantine rules for contacts of COVID-19 patients

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The figures do not include imported cases reclassified as domestic ones, nor retroactively removed cases. As of May 5, Taiwan recorded 242,302 domestic cases in 2022, while the total number of imported cases rose to 11,656 from 2,396 on Jan. 1.
The figures do not include imported cases reclassified as domestic ones, nor retroactively removed cases. As of May 5, Taiwan recorded 242,302 domestic cases in 2022, while the total number of imported cases rose to 11,656 from 2,396 on Jan. 1.
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