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How Favipiravir differs from Molnupiravir

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With two types of similar-sounding antiviral medication used to treat Covid-19 – Favipiravir and Molnupiravir – you may wonder what the difference is between the two and which is more suitable for certain symptoms.

Here the Medical Services Department explains:

Favipiravir

This was the first Covid-19 drug in Thailand. It selectively inhibits viral RNA-dependent RNA polymerase.

According to the latest information, patients who have taken this antiviral medication get better when compared to those who did not. Precisely 86.9 per cent of those given the drug got better after 14 days.

It can be given to children or adult patients who have mild or moderate symptoms. People in risk groups such as those with obesity or underlying diseases, or pregnant women during a certain period can take the drug.

Adults need to take 1,600 milligrammes and reduce this to 600mg on the second to fifth day.

The price of each treatment is 800 baht.

Molnupiravir

Molnupiravir has a similar mechanism to Favipiravir and was approved by the Emergency Operations Centre, Public Health Ministry and the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration.

This medication should be given to patients with risk factors with mild or moderate symptoms.

Adult patients should consume 800mg capsules – four every 12 hours for five days.

Each treatment costs 10,000 baht.

According to the guidelines, patients are given different medication depending on the severity of the disease and risk factors.

Patients with no symptoms

They are treated as outpatients or at home. The doctor will not provide any antiviral medicine as these patients can recover without the drugs over time.

Patients with mild symptoms without pneumonia or risk factors

This group might be given Favipiravir if Covid is found quickly.

Those who have been infected for more than five days and have mild or no symptoms might not need to get this antiviral medication.

Patients with mild symptoms but have risk factors or mild to moderate pneumonia

The risk factors are:

  1. 60 years or older
  2. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (Grade 2 or higher), including other chronic lung diseases
  3. Chronic kidney disease (stage 3 or later)
  4. Cardiovascular diseases (NYHA functional class 2 or higher) or Congenital Heart Disease
  5. Stroke
  6. Uncontrolled diabetes
  7. Obesity (90kg or higher / BMI 230kg/m2)
  8. Cirrhosis (Child-Pugh class B or higher)
  9. Immunosuppression (receiving chemotherapy, immunosuppressants or corticosteroid equivalent to prednisolone of less than 15mg/day for more than 15 days)
  10. HIV patients who have a CD4 cell count of fewer than 200 cells/mm3.

Patients should be given one type of medication within five days after being infected for better recovery.

Meanwhile, patients with no risk factors can be given Favipiravir. But if they have one of the factors mentioned above, they should be administered Favipiravir, Remdesivir or Molnupiravir or Nirmatrelvir/Ritonavir.

Patients who have more than two risk factors must be given Remdesivir, Molnupiravir, or Nirmatrelvir/Ritonavir.

Patients with severe pneumonia (resting O, saturation < 94%)

They must be given Remdesivir for five to ten days according to their symptoms.

Published : July 07, 2022

By : THE NATION