2nd course of Paxlovid OK for rebounding symptoms, Pfizer says

Pfizer executives said people whose COVID-19 symptoms rebound after taking the antiviral Paxlovid should repeat the treatment, though federal guidelines only recommend one five-day treatment course, Bloomberg reported May 3.

Scientists and federal health officials are working to understand why some people are experiencing recurring symptoms after taking the antiviral drug. In a recent clinical trial, about 2 percent of high-risk patients who received Paxlovid saw viral levels rebound, Pfizer leaders said. This figure was comparable to that of the control group, suggesting the phenomenon is not caused by the medication.

"Paxlovid does what it has to do: It reduces the viral load. Then your body is supposed to do the job," Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla told Bloomberg. In the rare case that virus levels rebound, "then you give a second course, like you do with antibiotics, and that's it," he said.

Paxlovid is available under an emergency use authorization by the FDA, and the drug's prescribing directions say it's "not authorized for use for longer than [five] consecutive days." The FDA did not immediately respond to Bloomberg's request for comment on how the drug should be prescribed for patients with rebounding symptoms.

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