Access to Covid-19 medications is now expected to be significantly easier in Austria. Since September 1, Lagevrio – in addition to Paxlovid – has also been available as another well-acting Covid-19 medication.
Oral medicines in tablet form can be prescribed by registered doctors in case of a Covid 19 infection and collected from pharmacies throughout Austria. Even a phone call to the general practitioner is usually sufficient.
Covid-19 drugs as additional protection
According to the company’s statement, the Ministry of Health, the Medical Association, and the Chamber of Pharmacists are working closely to make Covid-19 medications available. The drugs, the Corona vaccine, and masks are essential elements of the pandemic response. If taken quickly after a positive test, they reduce the risk of severe disease progression by up to 90 percent. For at-risk groups, these medications provide additional protection against strict disease progression with covid-19 and hospitalization.
Several independent studies showed the antiviral efficacy of molnupiravir for different SARS-CoV-2 variants such as alpha, delta, gamma, and early omicron strains, according to pharmaceutical company MSD. For Omicron variants BA.4 and BA.5, the first evidence of antiviral efficacy is now also available, based on preclinical data in the New England Journal of Medicine. Phase III clinical trial results, also published in the New England Journal of Medicine, showed that early antiviral therapy with molnupiravir significantly reduced the risk of death by 89 percent and reduced the combined risk of hospitalization and death by 31 percent in high-risk Covid 19 patients. Previous study results showed that no infectious SARS-CoV-2 virus was detectable in patients’ bodies as early as three days after starting therapy. This reduction is an important signal for the rapid elimination of the virus.
Two Corona drugs are currently in use in Austria.
Currently, two oral Covid-19 drugs (Paxlovid and Lagevrio) are available in Austria in addition to Regkirona, Xevudy, and Evusheld, which are administered directly in hospitals. They can be prescribed by e-prescription after physician diagnosis. So, after a positive antigen or PCR test, a call to the primary care physician is often all that is needed. The drugs can then be picked up directly from the pharmacy.
Paxlovid has been approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and is already prescribed in Austria. Lagevrio has been available since Thursday. It has been recommended by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) but has not yet been approved. It can still be administered in Austria as part of a compassionate use program if patients agree, the health ministry informed.
So far, 29,000 treatments in Austria with Corona pills.
Around 240,000 of the two drugs available in the office-based sector have been supplied to Austria. So far, 29,000 treatments have been carried out with them. There has been a significant increase in the past two months. Paxlovid and Lagevrio are stocked in all Austrian pharmacies. Prescription is now possible via e-prescription. Formalities for the use of Lagevrio have been significantly reduced.
“Covid-19 medicines will help us get through the fall well. We have already been working since July to ensure low-threshold access,” said Health Minister Johannes Rauch (Greens). Together with the Chamber of Physicians and the Chamber of Pharmacists, he said, it can be ensured that medication is available quickly and throughout the country after a positive test. “In this way, we create additional protection for at-risk individuals against a severe course of the disease or hospitalization,” the minister said. There was also approval from the Chamber of Physicians and the Chamber of Pharmacists.
Drugs should be able to be prescribed by the general practitioner.
“We doctors thus have an additional treatment option, of course after careful consideration of possible side effects and interactions, to ensure that patients who test positive have as mild a course of the disease as possible,” said Johannes Steinhart, President of the Austrian Medical Association. To ensure that Covid-19 drugs can also be prescribed and administered as quickly as possible, the Medical Chamber has provided comprehensive information about the benefits and prescriptions to all practicing physicians throughout Austria.
Pharmacies through which at-risk individuals can access prescribed Covid-19 medications have also been prepared for low-threshold distribution in recent weeks. “We are a frontrunner in Europe for Covid-19 medications. Only in our country are two Covid-19 drugs now available nationwide in all Austrian pharmacies, said Ulrike Mursch-Edlmayr, president of the Austrian Chamber of Pharmacists.
Treatment with Covid-19 drugs only for high-risk patients
Treatment with Covid-19 medications is intended exclusively for high-risk patients. This includes, for example, older age, chronic conditions such as diabetes, obesity, or disease, and taking medications that affect the immune system. Anyone from a risk group should immediately contact their doctor if they have a positive test result (antigen or PCR).
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