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Positive COVID-19 Test: Now What?

Dr. Armando Paez and Dr. Amanda Westlake discuss Paxlovid, a pill available for reducing symptoms for those at high risk from COVID-19.

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Antiviral Treatments for COVID-19

Treatments for Mild-to-Moderate COVID-19

Antiviral treatments help your body fight off viruses. The following oral antiviral treatments have been authorized by the FDA to help treat patients at risk for severe cases of COVID-19, including hospitalization and death.

If you think you are having COVID-19 symptoms, even if they are mild, take a home-based test or go for a lab test. If you qualify, you should not wait until you get sicker before asking your doctor about treatment options.

These treatments are available by prescription only and should be started as soon as possible after COVID-19 diagnosis – and within 5 days of symptoms starting.

Oral Antiviral Treatment

Paxlovid is a medication that is taken in the form of a pill and helps your body fight off the COVID-19 virus. The FDA issued an emergency use authorization (EUA) for Paxlovid in December, 2021.

Massachusetts residents can find out if they are eligible for Paxlovid via a telehealth visit through Mass.Gov. If you are eligible, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts will arrange for pickup at your local pharmacy or free overnight delivery. Visit mass.gov to learn more and set up a telehealth visit. 

Learn more about Paxlovid.

Molnupiravir is another oral (in pill form) antiviral COVID-19 medication authorized for emergency use by the FDA.

Paxlovid and Molnupiravir are not used for preventing COVID-19 or for treating COVID-19 once a patient has been hospitalized.

IV Antiviral Treatment

Remdesivir is an IV therapy that was originally authorized to treat hospitalized COVID-19 patients. The medication is now used to treat nonhospitalized patients with mild to moderate COVID-19 who are at high risk of severe illness.

Remdesivir is currently approved by the FDA for use in hospitalized individuals, and outpatient treatment is an off-label indication.

Eligibility

Paxlovid

Paxlovid is authorized to treat adults and children 12 years of age and older, with positive test results, who are at risk for severe COVID-19 (including hospitalization or death).To receive this treatment, you must:

  • Be referred by a healthcare provider
  • Test positive for COVID-19
  • Be within 5 days of symptoms starting
  • Be at high risk for progress to severe COVID-19, including hospitalization and death
  • Be 12 years of age or older and weigh at least 40 kilograms or about 88 pounds

If you are a Massachusetts resident, you can find out if you're eligible via a telehealth visit through Mass.Gov – and the telehealth provider will send your prescription to your pharmacy.

Molnupiravir

Molnupiravir is authorized to treat adults, with positive test results, who are at risk for severe COVID-19 (including hospitalization and death). To receive this treatment, you must:

  • Be referred by a healthcare provider
  • Test positive for COVID-19
  • Be within 5 days of symptoms starting
  • Be at high risk for progress to severe COVID-19, including hospitalization and death
  • Be 18 years or older

Remdesivir

Remdesivir, originally approved for treating patients hospitalized with COVID-19, is now an option for treating nonhospitalized patients with mild to moderate COVID-19 who are at high risk for severe COVID-19.

  • Be referred by a healthcare provider
  • Test positive for COVID-19
  • Be within 7 days of symptoms starting
  • Be at high risk for progress to severe COVID-19, including hospitalization and death

Remdesivir is currently approved by the FDA for use in hospitalized individuals, and outpatient treatment is an off-label indication.

How to Access Treatment

Any healthcare provider can prescribe oral antivirals to treat COVID-19. You can find a pharmacy where this treatment is available by using the COVID-19 Therapeutic Locator on mass.gov

You can find out if you're eligible for Paxlovid via a telehealth visit through Mass.Gov – and the telehealth provider will send your prescription to your pharmacy.