COVID-19 Oral Treatments
There are currently two available oral treatments:
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 a risk factor(s) for progression to severe COVID-19, including hospitalization
Treatment must be given within 5 days of developing symptoms.
Frequently Asked Questions
Please read the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) so you can help protect yourself, your family, your friends, and your community.
What options are currently available for COVID-19 treatment?
Remdesivir Outpatient Treatment
Oral Antiviral Treatment
Which COVID-19 treatment is best for me?
Talk to your healthcare provider about treatment. Your healthcare provider will select the best medication for you based on your health conditions, treatment availability, your current medications, kidney and liver function, along with other factors.
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.
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.
- Remdesivir outpatient treatment must be started within 7 days of symptom onset.
- COVID monoclonal antibody treatments must be given within 7 days of symptom onset.
What should individuals of childbearing potential know about oral treatments?
Tell your healthcare provider if you are taking combined hormonal contraceptive. Paxlovid may affect how your birth control pills work. It is recommended that you use effective barrier contraception (condom) or do not have sexual activity while taking Paxlovid and for four days following treatment.
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.
What should I tell my healthcare provider before I take an oral treatment?
Tell you healthcare provider if you have any of the following:
- liver or kidney disease
- pregnant or plan to become pregnant
- breastfeeding a child
- any serious illnesses
- 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.
- There is no experience treating pregnant women with Paxlovid. There are maternal and fetal risks associated with untreated COVID-19 in pregnancy. Benefit of Paxlovid may outweigh risk. The Society of Maternal Fetal Medicine has issued a statement supporting the use of Paxlovid in pregnant patients who meet the clinical qualifications.
- There is no experience treating breastfeeding mothers with Paxlovid. Breastfeeding women should talk to their healthcare provider prior to taking Paxlovid.
- 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?
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
- 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.
Possible side effects of molnupiravir are:
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?
Where can I get my prescription filled?
Visit the Federal COVID-19 Therapeutics Locator to find a location with oral treatments near you.
Copyright New Mexico Department of Health