WHAT DOES EARLY DATA SHOW ABOUT the BENEFITS of TREATMENTS for COVID 19?
By Alan M. Solomon, Ph.D.
Paxlovid, the Pfizer medication developed to treat COVID 19, is of benefit to high-risk seniors, and probably other individuals with compromised immune systems. It appears to provide no protection to younger adults. These are the preliminary results of a large study in Israel, involving 109,000 patients ( https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/health/2022/08/24/paxlovid-pfizer-covid-pill-benefits-adults/7889907001/ ).
The convenience of taking the medication at home has made it the preferred option supported by the Biden administration, which has spent more than $10 billion to make it available through local pharmacies at no cost to patients. When given soon after infection, Paxlovid reduced hospitalizations for people 65 or older by 75%. People between the ages of 40 and 65 however, showed no measurable reduction in hospitalizations. These results were seen from analyzing hospital records. Pfizer and the government of Israel reached an agreement at the beginning of the pandemic that provides supplies of Pfizer vaccinations, as well as Paxlovid, in exchange for Israel making its medical records available to the pharmaceutical company.
At this point, CDC data indicates that the vast majority of people in the US (estimated to be 95%) have have been either vaccinated or infected by the virus, so that they have some protection against the virus. David Boulware, MD, a researcher and physician at the University of Minnesota notes: “Paxlovid will remain important for people at the highest risk of severe COVID-19, such as seniors and those with compromised immune systems. But for the vast majority of Americans who are now eligible (for the medication), this really doesn’t have a lot of benefit.”
High risk conditions include obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. More than 42% of US adults are obese, which translates into 138 million Americans. At the time of authorization of Paxlovid, it was a break-through in treatment for COVID 19 at home, during the pandemic’s second winter surge. Pfizer’s study to gain approval from the FDA included only patients who had not been vaccinated or treated for a prior infection. Pfizer did report earlier this past summer that a study of healthy individuals – both vaccinated and unvaccinated – showed no benefit from the medication.
Since the drug was authorized, more than 3.9 million prescriptions have been filled. Treatment involves three pills twice a day, for five days, needed to begin with a few days of testing positive for the virus. To make the drug more available, pharmacists have been authorized to prescribe it.
Therapists in IPN will help clients make informed decisions about how to deal with the COVID pandemic and all its risks.
Dr. Alan M. Solomon is a clinical psychologist in private practice in Torrance, CA. A member of the Independent Psychotherapy Network, he can be reached at 310 539-2772 or email@example.com Telehealth or in-person sessions are available.
Copyright 2022 by Alan M. Solomon, Ph.D.