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People With Liver Disease Can Now Take Remdesivir for COVID

Editor’s note: Find the latest COVID-19 news and guidance in Medscape’s Coronavirus Resource Center.

The antiviral drug remdesivir has been approved by the FDA to treat COVID-19 in people who have all stages of liver disease, drugmaker Gilead Sciences Inc. announced Thursday.

The move is important because, previously, some people with liver disease had limited treatment options for severe cases of COVID-19. In a news release, Gilead called remdesivir (whose brand name is Veklury) “the first and only approved antiviral COVID-19 treatment that can be used across all stages of liver disease.”

Results of a Phase 1 study that used the current dosage for people without liver problems showed no new safety concerns, the drugmaker reported. 

Typically, the antiviral is administered by injection or through the veins for three days in nonhospitalized people with mild to moderate cases of COVID-19 who are at high risk of the infection progressing to severe disease, according to the National Institutes of Health. People already hospitalized with COVID receive the infusion for five days. Antivirals work by blocking the ability of the virus to replicate.

In October 2020, remdesivir was the first antiviral approved by the FDA to treat COVID-19. Earlier this year, the FDA approved remdesivir to be used in people with kidney problems, including those who are receiving dialysis.

Sources:

Gilead Sciences Inc.: “FDA Approves Veklury (Remdesivir) to Treat COVID-19 in People With Mild to Severe Hepatic Impairment With no Dose Adjustment.”

NIH: “COVID-19 Treatment Guidelines: Remdesivir.”

FDA: “FDA Approves First Treatment for COVID-19.”

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