Fourteen Percent of Those Who Contracted COVID-19 Face Long-Term Challenges
16 January 2023
Long COVID is more prevalent among unvaccinated individuals and can occur in those who have not tested positive for the infection or were unaware they had an infection. Some patients experience multiorgan involvement and may be at increased risk for new health conditions, such as diabetes, heart conditions, or neurologic conditions, compared with individuals who have never had COVID-19. One of the most troubling symptoms is “brain fog”—the inability to focus or process information well. Since July 2021, the Americans with Disabilities Act has recognized post–COVID-19 condition as a disability.
It appears that long COVID is the result of a prolonged, proacted low-grade inflammatory process. Because no diagnostic tests exist to confirm a diagnosis and investigators have been unable to identify a cause, treatment must be individualized. Affected patients often use polypharmacy and self-care to relieve symptoms. Pharmacists should note that a systematic review of 9 studies indicates that vitamin C may help with fatigue; the review’s authors postulate that its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and immunomodulating properties may be helpful. The results of 1 small study (N = 52) showed that low-dose naltrexone improved well-being and reduced symptomatology, but larger studies are needed.