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. 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 include older adults (ages 50 years or more, risk increases with age), people who are unvaccinated, and 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 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.
- Contact your private healthcare provider for more information. To learn more information regarding COVID-19 antiviral medications visit the CDC website.
Getting Medications (Therapeutics) for COVID-19
For people who are more likely to get very sick from COVID-19 infection, medications or “therapeutics” are available that can reduce your chances of severe illness and death. Medications can help reduce symptoms and help individuals manage their illness. COVID-19 medications are now available through your doctor, local pharmacies, and health clinics. If you have COVID-19 symptoms and test positive, do not wait to get treated. You must take oral COVID-19 medication within 5 days of your first COVID-19 symptoms. Talk with your health care provider as soon as possible after testing COVID positive, to see if you are eligible for one of these treatments – you will need a prescription. Individuals can also find a Test to Treat Site and get treatment where you get tested. There are over 1,200 treatment locations in Illinois - including all the major retail pharmacies. Additional information can be found on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.
Click here to see more information in English.
Click here to see more information in Arabic.
Click here to see more information in Spanish.