Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Hope for Long Covid Parosmia Sufferers

Not one but two:

New Treatment Restores Sense of Smell in Patients with Long COVID
Nov 2023, Radiological Society of North America

Parosmia, a condition where the sense of smell no longer works correctly, is a known symptom of COVID-19. Recent research has found that up to 60% of COVID-19 patients have been affected. While most patients do recover their sense of smell over time, some patients with long COVID continue to have these symptoms for months, or even years, after infection.

The research team used a stellate ganglion block, which includes injecting anesthetic directly into the stellate ganglion on one side of the neck to stimulate the regional autonomic nervous system. The minimally invasive procedure takes less than 10 minutes, and no sedation or intravenous analgesia is necessary. CT guidance was used to position a spinal needle at the base of the neck for injection into the stellate ganglion. The researchers added a small dose of corticosteroid to the anesthetic in the pharmacologic preparation, suspecting that the COVID virus may be causing nerve inflammation. 

Follow-up was obtained for 37 patients (65%), with 22 (59%) of the 37 reporting improved symptoms at one week post-injection. No complications or adverse events were reported…

via the Radiological Society of North America and Jefferson Health in Philadelphia: New Treatment Restores Sense of Smell in Patients with Long COVID (press release). Nov 20 2023.

New clinical-trial data suggest that an antiviral pill called ensitrelvir shortens the duration of two unpleasant symptoms of COVID-19: loss of smell and taste
Nov 2023, Nature

From Japan - The medication is among the first to alleviate these effects and, unlike other COVID-19 treatments, is not reserved only for people at high risk of severe illness. The antiviral drug molnupiravir speeds recovery of these senses, but generally only the most vulnerable people can take it.

That is not true for ensitrelvir. In Japan, where it received emergency approval last year, the drug is available to  individuals with mild to moderate symptoms, regardless of their risk  factors. Its developer, Shionogi in Osaka, Japan, is continuing to conduct clinical trials of the drug, which has not yet been approved outside Japan.

In one such trial, people with mild or moderate COVID-19 symptoms were given either 125 or 250 milligrams of ensitrelvir or a placebo. At the start of  the study, 20% of participants reported some level of smell or taste loss. After the third day of treatment, the proportion of participants reporting such symptoms in the ensitrelvir groups started dropping more sharply than 
did the proportion in the placebo group.

“Most people will eventually recover on their own, but we know that some people have had 
long-term issues with smell and taste” 

via Shionogi in Osaka, and Fujita Health University: Nature. New pill helps COVID smell and taste loss fade quickly. Oct 17 2023. doi: https://doi.org/10.1038/d41586-023-03244-7 

Partially unrelated image credit: AI Art - The Human Condition is a Paradox - 2023

Further Reading:
Smell for Life: The Campaign to Tackle Smell and Taste Disorders
Apr 2023, Monell Center for Advancing Discovery in Taste and Smell

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