A masked doctor speaks with two nursing home residents

As access to Pfizer’s Paxlovid pill widens, doctors remain concerned about how to prescribe the antiviral pill for high-risk patients.

A recent report in STAT found that many providers are not sure when to prescribe it or the criteria that separates those who need it from those who don’t. They also don’t know whether to prescribe it again for rebound cases (those who test positive for COVID-19 after taking Paxlovid). And they’d like more data on the rebound cases.

“There is a real dearth of evidence right now out there, and obviously there’s a lot of confusion,” Jonathan Li, a physician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and virology researcher at Harvard Medical School who is also a member of the COVID-19 Treatment Guidelines Panel, told the news outlet.

Meanwhile, the government has expanded access to the pill. Last week, the FDA revised Emergency Use Authorization for Paxlovid, allowing state-licensed pharmacists to prescribe it to eligible patients with certain limitations.

“Since Paxlovid must be taken within five days after symptoms begin, authorizing state-licensed pharmacists to prescribe Paxlovid could expand access to timely treatment for some patients who are eligible to receive this drug for the treatment of COVID-19,” said Patrizia Cavazzoni, M.D., director for the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research.

Paxlovid is geared to those 12 and older who test positive and are at high risk for progression to severe COVID-19. This includes people over age 65. It should be prescribed within five days of symptom onset.

In June, the Food and Drug Administration updated its screening guidance for use of Paxlovid.