Postmarketing Reporting of Paxlovid-Related Dysgeusia: A Real-World Pharmacovigilance Study

David J. Cvancara, Hans C. Baertsch, Ashton E. Lehmann, Ian M. Humphreys, Nyssa Fox Farrell, Thomas B. Marshall, Neel K. Bhatt, Waleed M. Abuzeid, Aria Jafari

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Objective: A novel COVID-19 therapeutic, nirmatrelvir/ritonavir (Paxlovid), is commonly associated with reports of dysgeusia. The Food and Drug Administration Adverse Event Reporting System (FAERS) database was used to determine the real-world reporting of Paxlovid-associated dysgeusia (PAD), identify associated factors, and describe the relative reporting rates of dysgeusia for Paxlovid compared to other COVID-19 therapeutics (OCT), ritonavir alone, and other protease inhibitors (OPI). Study Design: Observational retrospective. Setting: Tertiary academic medical center. Methods: We collected patient and adverse event characteristics reported in the FAERS database between January 1968 and September 2022. Disproportionality analyses were used to compare the reporting of PAD to dysgeusia reported for OCT, ritonavir, and OPI. Results: 345,229 adverse events were included in the present study. Dysgeusia was a frequently reported Paxlovid-associated adverse event (17.5%) and was associated with nonserious COVID-19 infection (reporting odds ratio [ROR] 1.4; 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.2, 1.7) and female sex (ROR = 1.7; 95% CI 1.6, 1.9). Paxlovid was more likely to be associated with the reporting of dysgeusia compared to OCT (ROR 305.4; 95% CI 164.1, 568.5), ritonavir (ROR 28.0; 95% CI 24.1, 32.7), and OPI (ROR 49.0; 95% CI 42.8, 56.1). Conclusion: Dysgeusia is much more likely to be reported by patients receiving Paxlovid than those receiving OCT, ritonavir alone, or OPI. These findings suggest a potential mechanism of dysgeusia that causes distorted taste out of proportion to the background effects of COVID-19 infection and specific to nirmatrelvir. Future studies are needed to determine the underlying pathophysiology and long-term clinical implications for patients who report dysgeusia with Paxlovid.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)55-61
Number of pages7
JournalOtolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery (United States)
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2023


  • COVID-19
  • COVID-19 therapeutics
  • Paxlovid
  • Paxlovid mouth
  • bitter taste receptor
  • dysgeusia
  • nirmatrelvir/ritonavir


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