COVID-19 treatments

On January 17, 2022, Health Canada authorized nirmatrelvir/ritonavir (PAXLOVID), Canada’s first oral antiviral treatment for mild to moderate COVID-19 in adults who do not require hospitalization and are at high risk of progressing to serious illness.

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COVID-19 treatments in New Brunswick

Paxlovid is a therapeutic treatment for COVID-19 which is currently approved for people who have mild to moderate symptoms of COVID-19.

Paxlovid is an oral antiviral that can be taken at home.

Therapeutic treatment like Paxlovid is currently only available for people who are at high risk of serious illness. Paxlovid is not a substitute for vaccination.

Paxlovid does not stop you from getting COVID-19. It is used to prevent severe illness in people who are at higher risk from COVID-19. 

Paxlovid has numerous significant and serious drug interactions and may not be appropriate for all people.

To be effective, it must be taken within 5 days of developing symptoms.


Who can benefit from treatment with Paxlovid

Paxlovid may be beneficial for people who are at high risk of serious illness including:

  • 18 years of age or older and moderately to severely immunocompromised (see below)
  • 80 years of age and older
  • 50 to 79 years of age and not fully vaccinated
  • 50 to 79 years of age who are residing in a long-term care setting; or living in, or from First Nations communities or those receiving home care services.

To be eligible for this medication you must meet the following criteria:

  • COVID-19 infection confirmed by
    • PCR or
    • Abbot ID Now test in First Nations Communities or
    • Point of Care Test (POCT); recommended to be observed by a health care provider.
  • Mild to moderate symptoms present (fever, cough, mild shortness of breath, loss of appetite, loss of smell and/or taste, fatigue, runny nose, muscle aches, etc)
  • Symptom onset was within the past 5 days.
     

The following individuals are considered to be moderately to severely immunocompromised for the purpose of Paxlovid treatment:

  • Active or recent cancer treatment for solid tumor cancer or cancers of the blood
  • Solid organ transplant and taking immune suppression therapy
  • Recent stem cell transplant (within 2 years) or are taking immune suppression therapy
  • Moderate to severe primary immunodeficiency (e.g. DiGeorge syndrome, Wiskott-Aslrich syndrome), or advanced or untreated HIV infection, or AIDS
  • Moderate to severe immune suppression therapy such as:
    • Cancer therapy
    • Immune therapy 
    • Other biologic medications that significantly suppress the immune system (e.g. rituximab)
    • High dose systemic corticosteroids (doses of >20mg/day of prednisone for four or more weeks) or other drugs to suppress your immune system




How to access Paxlovid

  • Contact your Primary Care Provider.
  • If you do not have or cannot reach your primary care provider, call 811 or visit https://www.evisitnb.ca/ to see a New Brunswick nurse practitioner or doctor online.
  • Inform your provider that you have tested positive for COVID-19 and you would like to be assessed for Paxlovid.
  • To access Paxlovid, individuals must have a confirmed positive test, either PCR or Point of Care Test (POCT). If a POCT is used, it is recommended to be observed by a health care provider.