Paxlovid Rebound: How to Stay Prepared and Protected

As Covid cases started going up this summer, and new virus types appeared, we’re talking again about the basics of preventing and dealing with the virus. One important tool is a medicine called Paxlovid, which can help prevent severe illness and death. It’s meant for people at higher risk, like those with depression, smokers, or people with obesity.

Experts say Paxlovid works well to keep you out of the hospital and might even lower the risk of long Covid. But some people have heard about “Paxlovid rebound,” where they test positive again after recovering from Covid. This has made some people worried about the medicine. However, it’s important to know that rebound can happen even if you don’t take Paxlovid, and it’s not just because of the medicine. Rebound can be confusing to understand because it can mean two things: testing positive again after being negative or feeling sick again after seeming to get better. It’s hard to tell if these are rebound symptoms or if they are just lingering effects of the virus or long Covid. So, we don’t know exactly how often rebound happens. In one study, they said around 2.3 percent of people who took Paxlovid had a rebound, but other research suggests it might be as high as 14 percent for those who took the drug and 9 percent for those who didn’t.

The problem is that many people who experience rebound don’t tell their doctors, so we don’t have a complete picture of how often it occurs. But experts think it’s more common than we currently know.

Now, why does Covid rebound happen? When you take Paxlovid, it’s so good at fighting the virus that your immune system doesn’t do its usual job. It’s like letting the medicine drive your immune system’s car. After you finish the treatment, the virus can come back in your nose, sometimes stronger than before. But even without Paxlovid, it’s still unclear why symptoms can come back after a negative test. Sometimes, your immune system tries to heal your body too soon, giving the virus a chance to come back before it’s completely gone.

Overall, we’re not sure why some people get rebound and others don’t. If you do experience rebound, it usually happens within a week of getting better from Covid. And sometimes, it might happen without any symptoms at all. If you’re worried about it, it’s best to talk to your doctor for advice.

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