Medication safety group issues alert on COVID-19 antiviral

The Institute for Safe Medication Practices on Jan. 3 issued an alert warning pharmacists of potential error risks with Paxlovid, Pfizer's COVID-19 antiviral pill regimen. 

The alert states patients with severe renal impairment should not receive the drug, and patients with moderate renal impairment should receive a dose reduction. Paxlovid is administered as three tablets (two tablets of nirmatrelvir and one tablet of ritonavir) taken twice daily for no more than five consecutive days. For patient with with moderate renal impairment, pharmacists should remove one of the nirmatrelvir tablets for both the morning and evening doses from each of the five blister cards before dispensing, the ISMP alert said, adding that the empty blisters should be covered with manufacturer-supplied stickers. 

ISMP said additional potential safety issues include patients accidentally failing to take both tablets together and drug interactions. 

The FDA authorized Paxlovid on Dec. 22 for use in COVID-19 patients who are at high risk of progressing to severe illness. 

To view a full copy of the ISMP alert, click here


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