What We’re Reading: COVID-19 Drug Approval; Thousands Lost Medicaid Coverage; Menstrual Cycles and CVD Risk

The FDA approves Pfizer’s oral COVID-19 drug; hundreds of thousands of people lose Medicaid coverage after pandemic protections expire; irregular menstrual cycles seem to be linked with higher cardiovascular disease (CVD) risks.

FDA Grants Full Approval to Pfizer’s Oral COVID-19 Drug

The FDA Thursday granted full approval to Pfizer’s COVID-19 oral antiviral pill, nirmatrelvir/ritonavir (Paxlovid), for use by adults at high risk for progression to acute disease, reported The Hill. The approval comes almost a year and a half after the drug earned an emergency use authorization and as deaths and hospitalizations from the virus continue to decrease. The drug has been shown to be most effective for patients who have not received a COVID-19 vaccine and those not previously infected.

Thousands Lost Medicaid Coverage as Pandemic Rules Ended

Hundreds of thousands of low-income Americans have lost Medicaid coverage recently as part of an expansive unwinding of a pandemic-era policy that forbid states from removing people from the programs, according to The New York Times. Preliminary data show that many individuals lost coverage for procedural reasons, like when Medicaid recipients did not return paperwork to verify their eligibility or could not be located. The large number of terminations due to procedure suggests that people who are still qualified are losing coverage, including children. The coronavirus relief package guaranteeing continuous Medicaid coverage expired at the end of March.

Irregular Periods Linked to CVD

Women with irregular menstrual cycles or cycle lengths may encounter a higher risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD), according to a new study, reported CNN Health. Cycles that are shorter than normal (<21 days) or longer than normal (>35 days) were associated with a higher risk of CVD and atrial fibrillation, according to the study published Wednesday. The researchers found that 2.5% of the women with regular cycles developed CVD, compared with 3.4% who had irregular cycles.

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