Amy Schumer post flags potential dangers of COVID-19 pill mixing with other meds
Comedian Amy Schumer announced Monday that she is taking the COVID-19 treatment Paxlovid as part of her total care package while she recovers from the infection.
Paxlovid is an FDA-approved treatment given as a series of pills over five days that can drastically reduce the risk of serious illness. The US government has bought millions of doses to expand access to the drug for ordinary Americans.
But in a series of social media posts, Schumer rhetorically asked if she was a candidate for Paxlovid since she also takes the antidepressant Lexapro. Although experts say it's safe to take Lexapro and Paxlovid at the same time, Schumer's posts raise awareness of an important issue: Paxlovid works, but it should be used with caution.
PHOTO: Amy Schumer attends Hulu's "Life & Beth" premiere on March 16, 2022 in New York. (WireImage/Getty Images, FILE)
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"Paxlovid is very important and has really changed everything, as it is the first oral antiviral to be approved by our FDA and recommended by the CDC for high-risk patients with symptomatic COVID-19 infection... and has been shown to reduce hospitalizations and deaths by almost 90%," said Dr. Todd Ellerin, director of infectious diseases and chief medical officer at South Shore Health.
But the drug should not be taken concurrently with many common prescription medications, including some drugs used to treat mood disorders, heart disease, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, migraines, and many others. For a complete list of drugs that may react with Paxlovid, see the FDA Fact Sheet.
According to Ellerin, anyone taking a prescription drug should check with their pharmacist or doctor before taking Paxlovid.
In certain circumstances, patients can stop taking their existing medication for five days while taking Paxlovid. In other cases, a doctor may be able to adjust the medication dose or recommend an alternative to Paxlovid, such as B. remdesivir or a monoclonal antibody to reduce the risk of severe COVD-19.
Paxlovid contains two drugs, nirmatrelvir and ritonavir, and experts warn that ritonavir in particular can cause unsafe reactions with a long list of drugs. Paxlovid can inhibit the body's ability to break down other medicines, leading to an unsafe accumulation of these medicines if they have been taken recently.
Ellerin says people shouldn't feel discouraged from seeking Paxlovid to relieve symptoms of COVID-19, but anyone with questions should speak to a healthcare provider first.
"Your pharmacist can be very helpful," Ellerin said. "If they say you need to be careful with these drugs, then you should talk to your doctor."
dr Jelissa MooYin is a board-certified internal medicine physician at the University of California, Riverside, and a staff member at the ABC News Medical Unit.
Amy Schumer's post points out potential dangers of mixing COVID-19 pills with other medications and originally appeared on goodmorningamerica.com
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