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‘Omicron patients under 60 with no comorbidities can start symptomatic treatment with paracetamol’


Omicron patients under 60 years of age and with no comorbidities can start symptomatic treatment with paracetamol, according to Dr Shashank Joshi, Chair, International Diabetes Federation, Southeast Asia, and member of Covid-19 Maharashtra State Task Force.

Speaking during Health4All Online Episode-14 held recently, Dr Joshi also addressed the confusion about the use of molnupiravir, which has not been included in ICMR’s Covid treatment guidelines even as the state government has allowed its use in certain conditions with abundant caution.

He said, “The new-age antiviral treatment drugs like molnupiravir are broad-spectrum antivirals, which act as chain-terminators. We are seeing a 30 per cent hospitalisation risk reduction with the use of molnupiravir. If someone above the age of 50 has a consistent fever for two days alongside two or three comorbidities, the doctor might prescribe them these antivirals. Omicron patients below 60 years with no comorbidities can start symptomatic treatment with paracetamol.”

Dr Joshi said there is no need to worry as these pills are not prescribed to children below the age of 18, or to patients who require hospitalization, or to pregnant women. “The pill must be administered within 72 hours of the onset of symptoms for patients in the high-risk population group, namely, hypertensives, diabetics, people on immunosuppressed medication, senior citizens, people with other ailments etc.”

Emphasising on the “judicious use” of new-age treatment drugs for Covid, Dr Joshi said, “Whenever we have a new disease, which is constantly evolving, new treatment methods are also bound to come up. However, it is up to the doctors to identify the most vulnerable people and prescribe medication accordingly. For example, for an asymptomatic 85-year-old patient, who has mild hypertension treated with just one pill, there is no need for any kind of test or intervention. Only observation and monitoring of temperature and oxygen saturation is needed. However, if the same person is symptomatic with a consistently high fever of more than 100 degrees and has a bit of kidney issue, severe hypertension and diabetes, the administration of oral pills for home treatment may be required. In some cases, hospitalisation may be needed.”

Dr Joshi said the idea is to use the treatment selectively and in the most needful cases only. “Unfortunately, the masses immediately get hooked onto any new treatment that comes up, considering it as a magic pill. This results in its indiscriminate use. This is why it is important to believe your doctors and let them decide if the pill is meant for your particular medical condition or not,” he added.

Dr Harshal Salve, Additional Professor of Community Medicine, Coordinator for Collaborative on Air Pollution and Health Effects Research in India (CAPHER-India) and General Secretary of Faculty Association of AIIMS (FAIMS), said, “To reduce mortality from Covid, two important things need to be taken care of. Firstly, the healthcare system needs to also focus on the management of chronic illnesses alongside Covid. The availability of medicines, medical help and other healthcare services for non-Covid diseases has taken a backseat due to the pandemic. This needs to change to minimise the impact of comorbidities on the current pandemic. Secondly, all individuals in the vulnerable population must ensure they are fully vaccinated.”

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