5 EYEWITNESS NEWS talks to Minnesota, who has just finished taking the drug, and believes they may have saved his life.
“In a nutshell, I don’t know how long I’ve been able to breathe,” said Jeff Carlson of Vadne Heights.
Carlson said he began to show symptoms of COVID-19 from January 13th, including chills, body aches, sore throats and headaches. By January 15, he had a fever of 102 degrees and experienced dyspnea.
A 61-year-old woman with type 1 diabetes also said she had lost control of her blood sugar and had to take five times the amount of insulin she normally uses to keep her levels within acceptable limits.
“I was getting more and more ill,” Carlson explained. “It was a very difficult fight for me because COVID was holding me firmly.”
After a positive PCR test, Carlson was called by a doctor at M Health Fairview and said he was considered a “high-risk” patient and was chosen to try Merck’s antiviral drug molnupiravir. ..
Dr. Brian Jarabeck, Chief Medical Informatics Officer and Hospitalist at M Health Fairview, said:
M Health Fairview was able to begin offering pills as a treatment option on January 5, after receiving the initial assignment from the state.
The hospital system has so far offered 61 courses of Paxlovid and 31 courses of Molnupiravir.
“I definitely remember the first one, we celebrated what was happening because it was so historic,” said Jarabek. “The first patient remembers them coming back and saying,’Wow, I feel better two days later!’ So this could be a real game changer. . “
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Merck’s COVID-19 pills have been shown to reduce the risk of hospitalization or death by 30%. Molnupiravir is given as 40 tablets over 5 days.
Pfizer tablets have been shown to reduce hospitalization and mortality by up to 88%. Paxlovid is given as 30 tablets over 5 days.
Both tablets should be started within 5 days of the onset of symptoms and before the patient’s condition deteriorates until hospitalization.
“The real challenge for us was that no one could get this because of limited supply, so we have to do a lot of work behind the scenes,” Jarabek said. He explained. “We have created a process that allows us to score patients and assess who is at greatest risk of being hospitalized, which can treat patients and significantly reduce key outcomes. . “
He said tablets are generally preferred for people over the age of 65 with comorbidities such as heart disease, lung disease and diabetes.
“We look forward to continuing to supply more and making it available to more patients in the future,” said Jarabek. “This makes it possible for us because we all just want to imagine a future where people are treated and don’t have to go to the hospital with COVID.”
Carlson said he felt much better within 24 hours of the first dose of molnupiravir.
“To me, this was almost a miraculous drug and a miraculous result,” Carlson said. “If this wasn’t an option, I would have been in the hospital. There’s no question about it. I noticed that I was breathing better. I noticed lung pressure and my burns subsided. Friday. I couldn’t get it. I got out of bed. I couldn’t get off the couch. I couldn’t breathe. By 5 o’clock on Sunday, I was stirring my way. “
Carlson said he plans to ride a 25-mile bike this weekend, two days after completing the pill series.
“Three months ago, four months ago, where would I have been without this? I would have been one of the people who took a bed in the hospital and the results were unknown. I’m the luckiest person in the world. “He said,” Carlson said.
Metro’s hospital system reiterates that many of these drugs are not yet available.
HealthPartners expects the current Paxlovid supply to be exhausted by Sunday and the Molnupiravir supply to be exhausted next week or two weeks.
According to MDH, tablets from both Pfizer and Merck will be distributed to Minnesota every two weeks, but authorities are not sure how many doses they can expect with the next allocation.
Jarabek predicts that antivirals may not be widely available until May or June.
click here For more information on COVID-19 treatments available in Minnesota.
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