FDA-endorsed COVID-19 medication should be utilized warily, says UC researcher

FDA-endorsed COVID-19 medication should be utilized warily, says UC researcher


  • Post By : Kumar Jeetendra

  • Source: University of Cincinnati

  • Date: 04 Jan,2021

While the world has its eyes on vaccines to stop the spread of coronavirus, therapeutics continue to be necessary to treat hepatitis patients. One of these treatments, remdesivir, is the first and only antiviral agent of its type the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved so far for COVID-19.

Research at the University of Cincinnati, however, contends that this antiviral drug is being used too indiscriminately when treating patients hospitalized with the virus. The study is published in the journal Fundamental & Clinical Pharmacology.

This enzyme normally breaks down and activates medicines in certain antivirals or inactivates other medicines such in certain anticoagulants.”

Bingfang Yan, Study Lead Author and Pharmaceutical Scientist, Professor at the James L. Winkle College of Pharmacy, University of Cincinnati

The FDA approved remdesivir, marketed as Veklury, for emergency use authorization in May 2020 to treat COVID-19 and granted full approval for therapy in October 2020. The World Health Organization came out in November 2020 with a conditional recommendation advising against its use entirely citing:”More study is needed, especially to provide higher certainty of evidence for certain groups of patients.”

From the UC study, lead author Bingfang Yan, a pharmaceutical scientist, and his UC graduate students Yue Shen and William Eades, revealed that the drug permanently stops the activity of an enzyme called CES-2, which is found in the intestine, liver and kidney and is needed for the breakdown of many medicines.

On the flip side, he states that this breakdown increases the toxicity of a lot more medications such as with heart medications and anticancer drugs.

An antiviral is a medication against germs and an anticoagulant is a drug that hinders the clotting of blood. What further complicates the issue, Yan says, is when delivered through an IV, remdesivir doesn’t treat the virus unless the body has added specific enzymes, which are not found in all patients. It can also cause other antiviral drugs, such as those used for HIV/AIDs and hepatitis C, to not work properly.

Remdesivir is only administered through the veins in a hospital setting, with the FDA typically advocating a dose of once each day, for approximately 10 days, and”intravenous injection of remdesivir can cause safety concerns because of high initial concentrations of the drug in the system,” says Yan, noting,”If physicians use it, they need to use it with caution.”

He adds,”Clearly, the treatment should be used for the ideal patients and in the proper dosages with care when used in conjunction with other medications.”

Journal reference:

Shen, Y., et al. (2020) Remdesivir potently inhibits carboxylesterase‐2 through covalent modifications: signifying strong drug‐drug interactions. Fundamental & Clinical Pharmacologydoi.org/10.1111/fcp.12643.

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