Prevention is better than healing. Clinical and economic implications of oral antiviral agents in COVID-19: a prospective study

Published: 3 June 2024
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COVID-19 represents a threat for frailty patients. This study compares molnupiravir and nirmatrelvir for fragile COVID- 19 patients' efficacy, safety, and cost. An observational, prospective study allowed us to evaluate molnupiravir’s efficacy and safety in real life, compare it to a subgroup of patients treated with nirmatrelvir-ritonavir, and analyze its cost-effectiveness. From January to December 2022, 435 patients (225 males, 220 females; median age 72 years), were enrolled; 24 patients were unvaccinated, and 280 patients had ≥2 risk factors. Molnupiravir performed better clinically and economically. Compared to literature data, in these patients, hospitalization was 2.5% vs. 6.8% (P<0.005), overall adverse effects 14,3% vs. 30.4% (P<0.0001), severe adverse effects 2.6 vs. 6.9% (P<0.001), thus involving potential total savings of about € 92.954 per patient (8% of standard of care cost). Early molnupiravir treatment helped fragile patients who partially responded to the vaccine, or with absolute contraindications to vaccination, to overcome COVID-19 without the need for hospitalization. In elderly patients with multiple pathologies and multiple drugs, molnupiravir prevents disease progression clinically and economically.

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How to Cite

Pietrantonio, F., Rosiello, F., Ruggeri, M., Cattaruzza, M. S., Vinci, A., Lordi, M., & Cipriano, E. (2024). Prevention is better than healing. Clinical and economic implications of oral antiviral agents in COVID-19: a prospective study. Italian Journal of Medicine, 18(2). https://doi.org/10.4081/itjm.2024.1737