On Dec 23, 2021, FDA gave Emergency Use Authorization to molnupiravir as outpatient treatment for COVID-19 in high-risk patients 18 and older. “High risk” means high risk for hospitalization or death from COVID-19. Users need a positive COVID-19 test and should start treatment as early as possible, within five days of symptom onset.
The drug reduced hospitalization and death by 30%. FDA approval was based on a clinical study that included only ~700 patients who got the pill. I assume there were 700 others who got a placebo.
By comparison, Pfizer’s Paxlovid reduced hospitalization and death by 90%.
The dose is 800 mg by mouth every 12 hours for five days. Available capsules contain 200 mg.
- The drug is well-tolerated. Most common side effects are diarrhea, nausea, and dizziness.
- No known drug interactions. This is an advantage over Pfizer’s Paxlovid pill.
- No dose adjustment needed for kidney disease, liver disease, or old age. Another advantage over Paxlovid.
- The drug could be dangerous to embryos/fetuses. Don’t get pregnant while taking this! Male users need to use reliable birth control for the three months after use.
Don’t ask me for the drug’s brand name or cost. I couldn’t find those. CNET says the U.S. Fedgov will provides some doses for “free.” I.e., the taxpayers are paying for it. More than 100 million U.S. households, or 61% of all taxpayers, paid no federal income taxes in 2020.
Steve Parker, M.D.