Hungary will use favipiravir, a Japanese drug made to treat diseases caused by the flu, in outpatient care, according to an announcement on Friday by the operative body. Up until now, only patients treated in hospitals received it, but only when the antiviral serum could no longer have a perceptible effect. The medicine can help avoid the development of serious symptoms in the early stages of the coronavirus disease.
According to portfolio.hu, they wrote last December during the second wave of the coronavirus epidemic that favipiravir should be used in the care of those COVID-19 patients whose condition is not critical, so they are not yet treated in a hospital but show symptoms of the illness. That is because favipiravir is an
antiviral medicine that hinders the multiplication of the virus in the body.
Interestingly, drugs containing favipiravir could not be used up until now in Hungary in outpatient care. Therefore, GPs could not prescribe it to curb the effects of the infection. That is why there was no medicine against the virus that could be bought in the pharmacies. As a result, patients had to be taken to the hospitals if their condition got worse. In the hospital,
they could get both favipiravir and remdesivir.
Doctors gave the former to patients in a non-critical condition, while they prescribed the latter for people in a critical condition.
Cecília Müller, the chief medical officer of Hungary, said on Friday that the pressure on the Hungarian healthcare system is increasing. They would like to avoid the overload of hospitals by allowing the use of favipiravir also in outpatient care. Thanks to that, fewer patients will be taken to hospitals.
The drug already proved successful against the virus abroad.
Müller added that the medicine can help patients not to produce such critical symptoms which can only be treated in the hospital. That is important because today, the number of people treated in Hungarian hospitals reached 7,243, 751 of whom are on ventilators.
Based on what PM Viktor Orbán said on Friday morning, at the peak of the third wave, there can be 15-20 thousand patients in hospitals.
Favipiravir is the drug of the Japanese Fujifilm Toyama Chemical Co. Ltd. that has been used since 2014 as Avigan® and Favilavir® mostly in Japan to treat diseases caused by the flu. The medicine has already been
administered to hundreds of thousands of patients worldwide
who experienced only a few and mild side effects. However, in the case of pregnancy, the drug cannot be used.