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Favipiravir not needed for no or mild symptoms: Health Department

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People with no or mild Covid-19 symptoms in some cases do not need to take Favipiravir, the Department of Health said on Wednesday.

Department deputy director-general Manus Potaporn said the latest guideline focuses on Omicron patients:

  1. Those with no symptoms should be treated as outpatients, undergoing home isolation or treated at facilities allocated by the government, according to doctors. They should not be given antiviral drugs such as Favipiravir because most patients can be cured without the drugs. However, doctors could prescribe Fah Talai Jone, but this herb must not be given at the same time as antiviral drugs because there might be some side effects.
  2. Patients with mild symptoms, without pneumonia or a risk of severe diseases and normal lung X-ray results should be given Favipiravir as soon as possible within five days. If the patient has been infected for more than five days and has no or mild symptoms, they might not need to be given antiviral drugs because they can be cured by themselves.

Manus reminded medical personnel to be careful when prescribing medicines, especially Favipiravir, to pregnant women. It might affect the baby’s development, especially during the first three months, he said.

Favipiravir could also affect patients with liver issues. It might irritate the gastrointestinal tract. Favipiravir increases uric acid, which might affect patients with uric acid issues.

People can gain immunity if they are vaccinated, he pointed out, adding that taking care of your health and getting enough rest will boost immunity against the virus.

Public Health Ministry deputy permanent secretary Thongchai Keeratihuttayakorn confirmed that the ministry had enough medicines to treat every patient if needed.

However, not every patient needs medicine.

He advised people to get a booster dose. If they do not have severe symptoms or are not in risk groups, the virus will stimulate their immunity and it will be eradicated in five days. After five days, they should take an ATK test again.

The ministry has medicines available – Fah Talai Jone, Favipiravir and Molnupiravir – plus Paxlovid, for which it has already signed a purchase contract, Thongchai said.

However, he warned that these must be used “reasonably” as some could destroy the liver and kidney.

He asked medical personnel to inform patients in detail on how and when to use the drugs.

Published : March 30, 2022