COVID-19 Antiviral Medications
There are several treatments that can help prevent severe illness or hospitalization from COVID-19, including monoclonal antibody therapy and antiviral medications. These treatments are most effective when given early and the sooner it is given the better.
The FDA has approved two new antiviral medications for treating people with mild or moderate COVID-19 who are at high risk of severe illness from COVID-19, including hospitalization or death. Both medications are administered as an oral pill, and need to be taken within 5 days of symptoms starting.
In clinical trials, both medications were shown to reduce the likelihood of hospitalization and death (although the Pfizer medication, known as paxlovid, was much more effective).
These medications are not for everyone, and you will need to visit with a healthcare provider and get a prescription to get the medication.
Limited supplies of antivirals
Supplies of both antiviral medications are extremely limited right now. There will be more people eligible to receive these treatments than the available supply. However, as production increases, supply will eventually increase as well. Other treatment options may be available if you can’t find antiviral medications or your healthcare provider decides these medicines aren’t a good option for you, such as monoclonal antibody therapy.
Pfizer’s antiviral medication, paxlovid, is authorized for use in people ages 12 and older who have tested positive for COVID-19 and are at high risk of severe illness from COVID-19, including hospitalization or death. Patients must begin taking paxlovid within 5 days of symptom onset. Paxlovid isn’t recommended for patients with severe liver or kidney disease, it also may interact with other prescriptions a patient might be taking. It is not authorized for people who are hospitalized with COVID-19.
Paxlovid is taken as a course of 30 pills, 3 pills are taken two times a day for 5 days.
Supplies of paxlovid are extremely limited right now. As production of paxlovid increases, more providers will be able to offer this medication. Talk to a healthcare provider to see if this medication may be right for you. You may also call the COVID-19 Hotline at 1-800-456-7707 with questions. Hotline operators are available from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m., 7 days a week.
Merck’s antiviral medication, molnupiravir, is authorized for use in people ages 18 and older who have tested positive for COVID-19, are at high risk of severe illness, and when there are no other COVID-19 treatment options. It is not authorized for use in children. Molnupiravir is also not recommended for use by pregnant women.
Molnupiravir is taken as a course of 40 pills, 4 pills are taken two times a day for 5 days.
Limited supplies of molnupiravir are available at pharmacies throughout the state and only with a prescription. You must contact your healthcare provider to determine if molnupiravir is right for you.
Risk Score Calculator
To find out if you might be eligible for treatment with antiviral medications visit our risk score calculator. You will still need to visit a healthcare provider and receive a prescription for the medication.
For healthcare providers
- Letter to medical providers about COVID-19 novel therapeutics from Dr. Michelle Hofmann, deputy director at the Utah Department of Health (12/29/2021)
- Previous letter from Dr. Michelle Hofmann regarding availability of mAb therapy in Utah (12/20/2021)
- Nirmatrelvir and Ritonavir (Paxlovid™) Safety Reference Sheet
- Molnupiravir (Lagevrio™) Safety Reference Sheet
- COVID-19 drug interactions