| Literature Review  

Neurological side effects and drug interactions of antiviral compounds against SARS-CoV-2

The COVID-19 pandemic, caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus type 2 (SARS-CoV-2), rapidly spread across the globe.

Tremendous efforts have been mobilized to create effective antiviral treatment options to reduce the burden of the disease. This article summarizes neurological aspects of antiviral compounds against SARS-CoV-2 with full, conditional, or previous marketing authorization by the European Medicines Agency (EMA). In particular, Nirmatrelvir/ritonavir targets the SARS-CoV-2 3c-like protease using combinatorial chemistry. Nirmatrelvir/ritonavir levels are affected by medications metabolized by or inducing CYP3A4, including those used in neurological diseases. Dysgeusia with a bitter or metallic taste is a common side effect of nirmatrelvir/ritonavir. Molnupiravir is a nucleotide analog developed to inhibit the replication of viruses. No clinically significant interactions with other drugs have been identified, and no specific considerations for people with neurological comorbidity are required. In the meantime, inconsistent results from clinical trials regarding efficacy have led to the withdrawal of marketing authorization by the EMA. Remdesivir is a viral RNA polymerase inhibitor and interferes with the production of viral RNA. The most common side effect in patients with COVID-19 is nausea. Remdesivir is a substrate for CYP3A4. The authors concluded that neurological side effects and drug interactions must be considered for antiviral compounds against SARS-CoV-2. Further studies are required to better evaluate their efficacy and adverse events in patients with concomitant neurological diseases. Moreover, evidence from real-world studies will complement the current knowledge.

Akhvlediani T, Bernard-Valnet R, Dias SP, Eikeland R, Pfausler B, Sellner J; Infectious Disease Panel of the European Academy of Neurology. Neurological side effects and drug interactions of antiviral compounds against SARS-CoV-2. Eur J Neurol. 2023 Aug 1.

doi: 10.1111/ene.16017.