The Atlantic: Paxlovid Mouth Is Real—And Gross

More than two years into this pandemic, we finally have an antiviral treatment that works pretty darn well. Paxlovid cuts a vulnerable adult’s chances of hospitalization or death from COVID by nearly 90 percent if taken in the first few days of an infection. For adults without risk-heightening factors, it reduces that likelihood by 70 percent. Also, it might make your mouth taste like absolute garbage the whole time you’re taking the pills.

In Pfizer’s clinical trials, about 5.6 percent of patients reported an “altered sense of taste,” called dysgeusia in the medical literature. A Pfizer spokesperson assured me that “most events were mild” and “very few patients discontinued study as a result”; the outer packaging of the drug doesn’t mention it at all, and the patient fact sheet breezes past it. But Paxlovid-takers told me it’s absolutely dysgeusting.

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