COVID-19 Oral Treatments

Oral treatment for COVID-19 is recommended for some people who have tested positive for COVID-19. When possible, an individual should receive a monoclonal antibody infusion. For patients who do not have access to monoclonal antibody infusion and who are at high risk of severe COVID-19 disease. There are currently two available oral treatments:

  1. Paxlovid
  2. Molnupiravir

These treatments are authorized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) under an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) while clinical studies continue to look at their usefulness and safety. 

Treatment may be suitable for COVID-19 positive individuals who:

  • have mild to moderate symptoms
  • do not require hospitalization
  • have a risk factor(s) for progression to severe COVID-19, including hospitalization 

Treatment must be given within 5 days of developing symptoms. 

Please note supply will be extremely limited the first several months. Phased eligibility criteria will be in place in order to prioritize patients at highest risk.

Frequently Asked Questions

Please read the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) so you can help protect yourself, your family, your friends, and your community.

General Questions

What options are currently available for COVID-19 treatment?

Monoclonal Antibody Treatment

  1. REGEN-COV (casirivimab and imdevimab, administered together)
  2. Bamlanivimab and etesevimab, administered together
  3. Sotrovimab 

Oral Antiviral Treatment

  1. Paxlovid
  2. Molnupiravir

It is recommended that eligible individuals receive monoclonal antibody treatment when possible. Due to limited supply, oral antiviral treatments are currently reserved for those who are unable to access monoclonal antibody treatment.

For more information on monoclonal antibody treatment, click the Monoclonal Antibody Treatment Tab

How do oral antiviral medications work?
  • Antiviral medications reduce the ability of a virus to replicate decreasing the total amount of virus in the body.
  • Antiviral medications reduce the symptoms of a viral infection and shorten the length of illness
Are the COVID oral treatments FDA approved?
  • No, these medications have been granted an emergency use authorization (EUA).
  • It is still considered investigational treatment.
What is an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA)?
  • This is the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorization of an unapproved product or unapproved uses of an approved product for emergency use.
  • EUA is NOT the same as FDA approval.
  • EUA medications are considered investigational.
Can I get COVID oral treatment if I have positive COVID test but no symptoms?
  • COVID oral treatment is only for those patients who have COVID-19 symptoms.
I think I have COVID. When should I talk to my doctor about treatment?
  • Talk to your doctor as soon as possible.
  • COVID-19 treatments are most effective if started as soon as possible.
  • COVID oral medication must be started within 5 days of symptom onset.
  • COVID monoclonal antibody treatments must be given within 10 days of symptom onset.
What should individuals of childbearing potential know about oral treatments?

Paxlovid

It is recommended that you use effective barrier contraception or do not have sexual activity while taking Paxlovid.  Tell your healthcare provider if you are taking combined hormonal contraceptive. Paxlovid may affect how your birth control pills work.

Molnupiravir

For individuals who are able to become pregnant:

  • You should use a reliable method of birth control (contraception) consistently and correctly during treatment with molnupiravir and for 4 days after the last dose of molnupiravir. Talk to your healthcare provider about reliable birth control methods.
  • Before starting treatment with molnupiravir your healthcare provider may do a pregnancy test to see if you are pregnant before starting treatment with molnupiravir.
  • Tell your healthcare provider right away if you become pregnant or think you may be pregnant during treatment with molnupiravir.

For individuals who are sexually active with partners who are able to become pregnant:
 

  • A reliable method of birth control (contraception) should be used consistently and correctly during treatment with molnupiravir and for at least 3 months after the last dose.
  • It is not known if molnupiravir can affect sperm. While the risk is regarded as low, animal studies to fully assess the potential for molnupiravir to affect the babies of males treated with molnupiravir have not been completed. The risk to sperm beyond 3 months is not known. Studies to understand the risk to sperm beyond 3 months are ongoing.
  • Talk to your healthcare provider about reliable birth control methods. Talk to your healthcare provider if you have questions or concerns about how molnupiravir may affect sperm.
Is there a cost for this treatment?
  • There may be some costs associated with the treatment. Patients should talk to their provider regarding the cost of treatment and available coverage options.
  • There is no cost to the patient for the medication itself.
  • Costs associated with patient assessment may be billed to the patient’s insurance or to Medicare/Medicaid.
  • Uninsured or underinsured patients can have providers bill treatment costs to the HHS COVID-19 Uninsured Program or Coverage Assistance Fund.
What should I tell my healthcare provider before I take an oral treatment?

Tell you healthcare provider if you have any of the following:

  • allergies
  • liver or kidney disease
  • pregnant or plan to become pregnant
  • breastfeeding a child
  • any serious illnesses
  • HIV
  • are taking any medicines (prescription, over the counter, vitamins, or herbal products).
Can I receive oral treatment if I am pregnant or breastfeeding?
  • Pregnant and breastfeeding women should discuss the benefits and risks of treatment with oral COVID medication or monoclonal antibodies with their provider.

Paxlovid

  • There is no experience treating pregnant women or breastfeeding mothers with Paxlovid. Breastfeeding women should talk to their healthcare provider prior to taking Paxlovid.

Molnupiravir

  • Molnupiravir is not recommended during pregnancy. Breastfeeding is not recommended during treatment with molnupiravir and for 4 days after the last dose of molnupiravir.
Do the oral treatments have side effects?

Paxlovid

Possible side effects of PAXLOVID are:

  • Liver Problems. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you have any of these signs and symptoms of liver problems: loss of appetite, yellowing of your skin and the whites of eyes (jaundice), dark-colored urine, pale colored stools and itchy skin, stomach area (abdominal) pain.
  • Resistance to HIV Medicines. If you have untreated HIV infection, PAXLOVID may lead to some HIV medicines not working as well in the future.
  • Other possible side effects include:
  • altered sense of taste
  • diarrhea
  • high blood pressure
  • muscle aches

These are not all the possible side effects of PAXLOVID. Not many people have taken PAXLOVID. Serious and unexpected side effects may happen.

Molnupiravir

Possible side effects of molnupiravir are:

  • diarrhea
  • nausea
  • dizziness

These are not all the possible side effects of molnupiravir. Not many people have taken molnupiravir. Serious and unexpected side effects may happen. This medicine is still being studied, so it is possible that all of the risks are not known at this time.

Will oral treatment interact with my current medications?

Talk to your doctor and the pharmacist regarding your medication list.

Oral treatments may interact with your medications. Oral treatments may also increase or decrease the levels of multiple other medicines. In some cases, the drug interactions may cause serious or life-threatening side effects.

Are oral treatments effective against Omicron?

Both Molnupiravir and Paxlovid have been tested in a laboratory setting against the Omicron variant. They are expected to remain effective against Omicron based on the initial data. Their efficacy against COVID variants will continue to be studied.

Where can I find more information regarding oral treatments?

For more information regarding Paxlovid or Molnupiravir click the hyperlink to be directed to the Factsheet for Patients, Parents and Caregivers.

    Questions About Phase Criteria

    Why are phased criteria for oral treatments necessary?

    The federal government has secured over 10 million courses of COVID-19 oral treatment courses. However, during the initial months following availability supply will be very limited. For the initial allocation, the state will be receiving only 170 doses of Paxlovid per week and 770 doses of molnupiravir per week.

    Due to extremely limited supplies, access to oral therapeutics will be limited initially to counties without monoclonal antibody infusion sites and areas with limited access to monoclonal antibody infusions. New Mexicans in these communities have more difficulty accessing medical care. Prioritizing patients in these communities will help to increase access to COVID-19 treatment and reduce hospitalizations. As supply becomes more readily available, criteria will expand to include all counties and all eligible patients under the EUA.

    Despite prioritization efforts, it is still likely that paxlovid supply will be insufficient to meet demand during the first several months. Prescribers should have an alternative treatment plan in the case that the prescription cannot be filled by the pharmacy.

      Who is eligible to receive oral treatments?

      Due to limited supply, the state is utilizing a phased release of COVID-19 oral treatments. The state is currently in Phase 1-A.

      Who is in Phase 1?

       

      Paxlovid Patient Criteria:

      • Treatment can be started within 5 days or less from symptom onset AND
      • Positive COVID-19 test AND
      • Must reside in an eligible county AND
      • OMASS score of 6 or greater OR
      • 12-17 years of age and OMASS score of 3 or greater

      Molnupiravir Patient Criteria:

      • Treatment can be started within 5 days or less from symptom onset AND
      • Positive COVID-19 test AND
      • Must reside in an eligible county AND
      • OMASS score 3 or greater

      Oral Antiviral & Monoclonal Antibody Screening Score (OMAS)
      adapted from Mayo Clinic’s published Monoclonal Antibody Screening Score (MASS

      RISK FACTOR POINTS
      Age 65 years and older 2
      BMI 35 kg/m2 and higher 2
      Diabetes mellitus 2
      Chronic kidney disease 3
      Cardiovascular disease in a patient 55 years and older 2
      Chronic respiratory disease in a patient 55 years and older 3
      Hypertension in a patient 55 years and older 1
      Immunosuppressed and unlikely to have responded to vaccines (eg: CD20 inhibitors, BTK inhibitors, campath, recent CAR-T, organ transplant) 3
      Pregnancy* 4
      BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) status 1

      * Molnupiravir is not recommended for use in pregnancy.

      Eligible Counties:

      1-A

      1-B

      1-C

      1-D

      Bernalillo

      Hidalgo

      San Juan

      1-A counties &

      1-B counties &

      1-C counties &

      Catron

      Lincoln

      Santa Fe

      Colfax

      Eddy

      Chaves

      Cibola

      McKinley

      Sierra

      Curry

      Lea

      Guadalupe

      De Baca

      Mora

      Socorro

      Los Alamos

      Luna

      Roosevelt

      Doña Ana

      Rio Arriba

      Taos

      Otero

      Quay

       

      Grant

      San Miguel

      Torrance

       

      Union

       

      Harding

      Sandoval

      Valencia

       

       

       

      Who is in Phase 2?

       

      Paxlovid Patient Criteria:

      • Treatment can be started within 5 days or less from symptom onset AND
      • Positive COVID-19 test AND
      • OMASS score of 4 or greater OR
      • 12-17 years of age and OMASS score of 3 or greater

      Molnupiravir Patient Criteria:

      • Treatment can be started within 5 days or less from symptom onset AND
      • Positive COVID-19 test AND
      • OMASS score 3 or greater

      Oral Antiviral & Monoclonal Antibody Screening Score (OMAS)
      adapted from Mayo Clinic’s published Monoclonal Antibody Screening Score (MASS

      RISK FACTOR POINTS
      Age 65 years and older 2
      BMI 35 kg/m2 and higher 2
      Diabetes mellitus 2
      Chronic kidney disease 3
      Cardiovascular disease in a patient 55 years and older 2
      Chronic respiratory disease in a patient 55 years and older 3
      Hypertension in a patient 55 years and older 1
      Immunosuppressed and unlikely to have responded to vaccines (eg: CD20 inhibitors, BTK inhibitors, campath, recent CAR-T, organ transplant) 3
      Pregnancy* 4
      BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) status 1

      * Molnupiravir is not recommended for use in pregnancy.

      Eligible Counties: All Counties

      Who is in Phase 3?

      Paxlovid & Molnupiravir Patient Criteria:

      • Treatment can be started within 5 days or less from symptom onset AND
      • Positive COVID-19 test AND
      • OMASS score of 3 or greater

      Oral Antiviral & Monoclonal Antibody Screening Score (OMAS)
      adapted from Mayo Clinic’s published Monoclonal Antibody Screening Score (MASS

      RISK FACTOR POINTS
      Age 65 years and older 2
      BMI 35 kg/m2 and higher 2
      Diabetes mellitus 2
      Chronic kidney disease 3
      Cardiovascular disease in a patient 55 years and older 2
      Chronic respiratory disease in a patient 55 years and older 3
      Hypertension in a patient 55 years and older 1
      Immunosuppressed and unlikely to have responded to vaccines (eg: CD20 inhibitors, BTK inhibitors, campath, recent CAR-T, organ transplant) 3
      Pregnancy* 4
      BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) status 1

      * Molnupiravir is not recommended for use in pregnancy.

      Eligible Counties: All Counties

      Who is in Phase 4?

      Any patient eligible based on EUA criteria.

      Eligible Counties: All Counties 

      Questions About Distribution

      Where can I get my prescription filled?

      Ask for your prescription to be sent to:

      Community, A Walgreens Pharmacy 933 San Mateo Blvd NE Suite 501, Albuquerque, NM 87108

      Phone: 505-313-8080

      Prescriptions will be sent via overnight mail across the state directly to the patient’s home or an approved alternate pick up location.

      Additional locations where your prescriber may send a prescription for in-store pick up:

      Initial locations with In-store supplies of Paxlovid:

      CITY

      LOCATION

      ADDRESS

      Albuquerque

      WALGREENS 6587

      9700 MENAUL BLVD. NE

      Las Cruces

      WALGREENS 11458

      3990 E LOHMAN AVE

      Farmington

      WALGREENS 4510

      4221 E. MAIN ST.

       

      Locations with In-store supplies of Molnupiravir:

      CITY

      LOCATION

      ADDRESS

      Albuquerque

      WALGREENS 6587

      9700 MENAUL BLVD NE

      Edgewood

      WALGREENS 7881

      5 WALKER ROAD

      Española

      WALGREENS 5157

      1115 N. RIVERSIDE DR

      Farmington

      WALGREENS 4510

      4221 E. MAIN ST

      Gallup

      WALGREENS 9007

      1870 E. HISTORIC HIGHWAY 66

      Grants

      WALGREENS 15607

      1509 E. SANTA FE AVE

      Las Cruces

      WALGREENS 11458

      3990 E LOHMAN AVE

      Las Vegas

      WALGREENS 2425

      620 MILLS AVE

      Los Lunas

      WALGREENS 6610

      2500 MAIN ST NE

      Rio Rancho

      WALGREENS 4187

      1941 SOUTHERN BLVD NE

      Ruidoso

      WALGREENS 4650

      138 SUDDERTH DR

      Santa Fe

      WALGREENS 6346

      525 W. ZIA RD

      Silver City

      WALGREENS 10808

      100 ROSEDALE RD

      Taos

      WALGREENS 12751

      811 PASEO DEL PUEBLO SUR

       

        Why aren’t oral treatments available at all pharmacies yet?

        Due to limited supply, the network of pharmacies will be limited to a few partners. Initially, the state will partner with a single pharmacy partner, Walgreens. As medication supply increases, pharmacy locations across the state will receive oral therapeutics for onsite prescription processing and dispensation. As additional supply becomes available, the pharmacy network will expand to include all interested pharmacies.

          I don’t live in a city with a location that has in-store supplies available. How will I get my prescription filled?

          Ask for your prescription to be sent to:

          Community, A Walgreens Pharmacy 933 San Mateo Blvd NE Suite 501, Albuquerque, NM 87108

          Phone: 505-313-8080

          Prescriptions will be sent via overnight mail directly to your home or an approved alternate pick up location. 

            The pharmacy ran out of medication. What should I do?

            If your prescription was unable to be filled, contact your prescriber for an alternate treatment option such as monoclonal antibody treatment.

            You may also contact your local hospital directly regarding monoclonal antibody treatment or use the COVID-19 Infusion Site Locator: https://covid.infusioncenter.org to find the closest location.

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