The antiviral tecovirimat appears to be safe and effective for treating monkeypox symptoms and skin lesions, a new study finds.
Tecovirimat (TPOXX) is an antiviral drug approved by the FDA for the treatment of smallpox. Limits viral spread in the body by inhibiting the work of the protein involved in the release of the enveloped virus.
“We have very limited clinical data on the use of tecovirime for monkeypox infection. There is much to learn about the natural progression of the disease and how tecovirime and other antivirals may affect it,” said lead author Angel Desai. from the University of California. Davis.
The latest global outbreak of monkeypox has led to more than 45,500 cases as of August 22, 2022. While symptoms usually resolve on their own in 2-4 weeks, a recent study showed that 13 percent of patients required hospitalization .
For the new study, published in the journal JAMA, the team included 25 monkeypox patients who were given tecovirime therapy.
Patients with skin lesions on multiple parts of the body or sensitive areas such as the face or genital region were offered oral treatment with tecovirime. Treatment was based on weight, given every 8 or 12 hours and taken within 30 minutes of a high-fat meal.
In total, 25 patients with confirmed monkeypox infection completed a course of tecovirime therapy. All were male. Their ages ranged between 27 and 76 years (median age was 40). Nine patients had HIV.
Only one patient had the smallpox vaccine (received more than 25 years ago) and four others received a dose of JYNNEOS vaccination after the onset of symptoms.
The study found that 92 percent of patients had lesions in their genital or anal area. While all patients had painful lesions, about half had fewer than 10 lesions throughout their body.
On average, patients had symptoms or lesions for 12 days before starting their antiviral treatment.
Fever was the most common symptom (76 percent of patients), followed by fatigue (32 percent), sore throat (20 percent) and chills (20 percent). Other symptoms included back pain (12 percent), muscle pain (8 percent), nausea (4 percent), and diarrhea (4 percent).
All patients completed tecovirime therapy and tolerated their treatment well. They were treated for two weeks, except for one patient who was treated for 21 days.
By day 7 of therapy, 40 percent of patients had recovered from their lesions. By day 21, 92 percent were healed and pain-free.
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