COVID antiviral use requires prescription, says Thai DMS

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Dr Somsak Akksilp, director-general of the Department of Medical Services (DMS), explained that COVID prescriptions generally fall into four categories

Medical experts are reiterating that antivirals for treating COVID-19 must only be used with a doctor’s prescription, while also noting the potential risks associated with purchasing such drugs without a prescription.

Dr Somsak Akksilp, director-general of the Department of Medical Services (DMS), explained that COVID prescriptions generally fall into four categories. The first consists of patients who are asymptomatic and so will not be prescribed antivirals, although doctors may consider prescribing green chiretta pills. The second category comprises patients with mild symptoms, such as sore throat and coughs, who are not at risk of developing severe symptoms. This group may be prescribed favipiravir pills.



The third category consists of the ‘608’ group of people at heightened risk of developing severe symptoms from COVID-19. These cases may exhibit mild symptoms and pneumonitis. Doctors will consider issuing one of several antivirals in these cases, such as favipiravir, molnupiravir, Paxlovid or remdesivir. The fourth category involves patients experiencing pneumonitis, high fever, coughing or low blood-oxygen levels. These patients must be admitted to hospital where a doctor will consider prescribing remdesivir for five days. Severe symptoms may prompt remdesivir to be prescribed for 10 days along with anti-inflammatories.



Dr Kumthorn Malathum, deputy director of Ramathibodi Hospital, said Paxlovid cannot be issued to all patients as it may react with other medication. Migraine patients, for example, can suffer gangrene if taking migraine medication with Paxlovid. Prescribing Paxlovid to diabetic patients could also have harmful side effects.(NNT)