Danish health authority withdraws Covid-19 pill

The Danish Health Authority (Sundhedsstyrelsen) no longer recommends the Covid-19 therapeutic medicine Lagevrio, citing the medicine’s lack of effectiveness.

Danish health authority withdraws Covid-19 pill
FILE PHOTO: Coronavirus disease (COVID-19 Covid-19 treatment pills Paxlovid and Lagevrio. The latter will no longer be used in Denmark after failing to receive EMA approval. File photo: Jennifer Lorenzini/Reuters/Ritzau Scanpix

Persons at risk of severe illness with Covid-19 will no longer be prescribed the therapeutic medicine Lagevrio in Denmark.

The country’s Health Authority decided to pull the medicine from use in the health system after it was deemed to lack the requisite efficiency to justify its use as a prescribed treatment.

The tablet has been withdrawn due to its low effectiveness rather than because of safety concerns, the agency said.

The decision comes following evaluation of Lagevrio by the European Medicines Agency (EMA). EMA has concluded that the medicine should not be recommended for final approval.

It has been used in Denmark despite not having EMA approval under a Danish Medicines Agency general arrangement.

“We have been looking forward to the final evaluation from the EMA, which we will naturally adhere to. The EMA has now rejected the medicine, and we will therefore no longer recommend that Lagevrio is used in Denmark,” senior medical consultant Kirstine Moll Harboe of the Danish Health Authority said in a press statement.

“We note that the failure to give approval is not a result of problems with the medicines safety, but that there is a lack of documentation for good effectiveness,” she said.

A total of 6,281 people in Denmark have used the medicine between December 2021 and December 2022, according to Danish Health Authority data. Around 70 percent of them were over the age of 65.

The medicine was given to persons who are at an increased risk of severe illness due to Covid-19.

READ ALSO: Denmark to close all remaining Covid-19 test centres by end of March

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Foraging Danes warned not to mistake wild garlic for poisonous lookalike

Wild garlic, also known as ramsons or cowleek, can be gathered when spring comes around in Denmark, but the country’s food safety agency says says care must be taken not to pick a poisonous imposter for the edible wild plant.

Foraging Danes warned not to mistake wild garlic for poisonous lookalike

The wild garlic (ramsløg in Danish) season, which lasts from March until June, is set to arrive with early spring in Denmark. It is not uncommon for people in the Nordic country to pick the plant in the wild and use it for cooking, for example as an alternative to regular garlic or onion.

Care should be taken not to confuse the plant with its poisonous doppelgänger, the lily-of-the-valley (liljekonval), the Danish Veterinary and Food Safety Administration (Fødevarstyrelsen) said in a statement.

An advice line operated by the food safety agency, Giftlinjen, regularly receives calls in springtime from members of the public concerned they have eaten the wrong wild plant.

The lily-of-the-valley can cause serious food poisoning and be life-threatening in the most severe cases, the Food Safety Administration said in the statement.

“It can cause vomiting, diarrhoea and affect the heart rhythm and be life-threatening in the worst cases,” department manager Henrik Dammand of the Danish Veterinary and Food Safety Administration said .

“In other European countries, we have seen poisoning with lily-of-the-valley have fatal consequences,” he said.

The risk of confusing the two plants is higher early in the spring, before the more distinctive bell-shaped flowers blossom on the lily-of-the-valley.

Both plants have long, green leaves, the main feature which gives them similar appearances.

A good why to distinguish them is by smell, Dammand said.

While the wild garlic has a strong, garlic-like smell which gets stronger if the leaves are rubbed, the lily-of-the-valley is odourless.

READ ALSO: What you need to know about ticks in Denmark and how to avoid them