HealthDay News — Nirmatrelvir plus ritonavir reduces the risk for hospitalization or death after an outpatient diagnosis of COVID-19 among older adults, according to a study published online December 13 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Scott Dryden-Peterson, MD, from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, and colleagues examined whether nirmatrelvir plus ritonavir reduces the risk for hospitalization or death among outpatients with early COVID-19 in a population-based cohort study in the setting of prevalent SARS-CoV-2 immunity. Data were included for 44,511 nonhospitalized adults (90.3% with 3 or more vaccine doses) aged 50 years or older with COVID-19.

During the study period, 28.1 and 71.9% of patients, respectively, were and were not prescribed nirmatrelvir plus ritonavir. Those prescribed nirmatrelvir plus ritonavir were more likely to be older, be vaccinated, and have more comorbidities. The composite outcome of hospitalization or death occurred in 0.55 and 0.97% of patients, respectively, who were and were not prescribed nirmatrelvir and ritonavir (adjusted risk ratio, 0.56). The risks for hospitalization and death were reduced for recipients of nirmatrelvir plus ritonavir (adjusted risk ratios, 0.60 and 0.29, respectively).

“Although these data suggest its clinical impact may be reduced in the context of high levels of prior immunity and consequent lower risk, the estimated 40% reduction in hospitalization and 71% reduction in death could have large population benefits if nirmatrelvir plus ritonavir is used widely,” the authors write.

Abstract/Full Text