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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT ORAL ANTIVIRALS FOR CONSUMERS

Oral antivirals are a type of medication taken by mouth to treat long-term or serious viral infections. Antivirals can help your body get better from a virus in a lot of different ways, depending on the medication taken and the virus being treated.

Oral antivirals can help your body fight the virus by blocking it from entering your body’s healthy cells, boosting your immune system, or reducing the amount of active virus in your body. An oral antiviral may be able to help decrease your symptoms, the seriousness of your illness, and help you recover faster.

Two COVID-19 oral antiviral treatments currently have an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for people who are not in the hospital: Pfizer's Paxlovid and Merck's Lagevrio (molnupiravir). These medications are taken as pills, as directed by your healthcare professional; they may have additional instructions for you to follow while you take these medications. Be sure to tell your healthcare professional about your health history and all medications that you are already taking, including any over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and/or supplements.

You may be eligible to take an oral antiviral if you are at a higher risk of having serious COVID-19, have tested positive for COVID-19, have mild to moderate symptoms that started within the last 5 days, and you are not in the hospital.

Adults ages 18 years and older may be eligible for Lagevrio (molnupiravir).

Adults and children ages 12 years and older (weighing at least 88 pounds) may be eligible for Pfizer’s Paxlovid.

Your healthcare professional can help you determine if an oral antiviral is right for you.

An oral antiviral must be started within 5 days of your first COVID-19 symptoms. This means you only have a few days from when you started feeling symptoms to begin an oral antiviral treatment.

Oral antiviral treatments are still being studied. However, they have received an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) from the FDA and many people have been treated with oral antivirals. Researchers continue to study oral antiviral treatments for safety and effectiveness.

For some people, taking certain oral antivirals is not recommended.

People with serious kidney issues are not recommended to take Paxlovid.

People who are pregnant or may become pregnant, are currently breastfeeding, or are considering conceiving a child with their partner should speak with a healthcare professional about specific recommendations for Lagevrio (molnupiravir).

Yes. Each treatment works differently in your body and has different eligibility criteria. Your healthcare professional can help you determine which treatment you may be eligible for.

Oral antivirals require a prescription. They may be available at your local pharmacy. The treatments can be prescribed to you by your healthcare professional, after discussing your health history and COVID-19 symptoms.

To see where the oral antivirals are located, please visit https://covid-19-test-to-treat-locator-dhhs.hub.arcgis.com.

The Test to Treat initiative is a nationwide program where people can get tested for COVID-19 and, if eligible, receive a prescription for an oral antiviral medication all at one location.

Patients are able to 1) get tested, 2) receive an appropriate prescription from a qualified healthcare provider (if they are positive and eligible for treatment), and 3) have their prescription filled all in one location. Individuals who receive COVID-19 test results through at-home tests or another testing site can also utilize a Test to Treat location to receive a prescription from a qualified healthcare provider and treatment on the spot, if eligible.

Learn more at https://aspr.hhs.gov/TestToTreat

Contact your healthcare professional as soon as you can. You have only up to 5 days from the start of your symptoms to be eligible to start taking the medication.

Your healthcare professional may decide you do not qualify for oral antiviral treatment. There could be several reasons for this. You may not meet all of the eligibility criteria, or you may have an underlying health condition that disqualifies you for oral antiviral treatment.

Whatever the reason is, do not give up. There may be other treatment options available. You may be eligible for monoclonal antibodies. To explore more treatment options, please visit Possible Treatment Options for COVID-19.