One of our biggest public health challenges is to decrease the rate of severe COVID-19 disease in the face of pandemic fatigue, misinformation and a changing virus. If started as soon as possible after testing positive for COVID-19, antiviral medications like Paxlovid, Remdesivir and Molnupiravir, target specific parts of the virus to stop it from multiplying in the body, helping to prevent severe illness and death.
Important information regarding the antiviral medications:
- Don’t delay: Treatment must be started within days after you first develop symptoms to be effective.
- Who should consider taking one of the anti-viral medications? Individuals who are more likely to get very sick from COVID-19 infection include:
- older adults (ages 50 years or more, risk increases with age)
- people who are unvaccinated
- people with certain medical conditions, such as chronic lung disease, heart disease, or a weakened immune system.
Being vaccinated makes you much less likely to get very sick. Still, some vaccinated people, especially those ages 65 years or older or who have other risk factors for severe disease, may benefit from treatment to reduce symptoms and manage their illness if they get COVID-19. A healthcare provider will help decide which treatment, if any, is right for you. Check with your healthcare provider or pharmacist if you are taking other medications to make sure the COVID-19 treatments can be safely taken at the same time.
- The Treatment Locator (hhs.gov) (or call 1-800-232-0233 (TTY 1-888-720-7489)) can help you find a location that offers testing and treatment or a pharmacy where you can fill your prescription. There are over 1,200 treatment locations in Illinois - including all the major retail pharmacies.
- Contact your private healthcare provider for more information. To learn more information regarding COVID-19 antiviral medications visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.
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