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    There are new treatment options for high risk individuals who test positive for COVID-19: antiviral pills. Dr. Pete Mikkelsen, Medical Director of Pullman Regional Hospital’s Emergency Department and Andrea Howell, Pharmacy Director at Pullman Regional Hospital urge high risk individuals to seek out this treatment early on, should they become infected with COVID-19.


    According to manufacturer’s studies, COVID-19 antiviral pills, Pfizer’s Paxlovid (for ages 12 and older) and Merck’s Molnupiravir (for ages 18 and older), can dramatically help high risk patients who have recently been diagnosed with COVID-19. These pills are similar to antibiotics you would take for a bacterial infection- think penicillin to treat strep throat or keflex for a bladder infection.


    The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) to make Paxlovid and Molnupiravir available during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.




    Individuals who have experienced COVID-19 symptom onset within the 5 days, have a positive test, and are at a high risk for developing severe disease (including hospitalization and death) are eligible to receive and take these antiviral pills.


    The CDC has designated individuals who have cancer, obesity, diabetes, heart conditions, and those who are current or former smokers as high risk for developing severe COVID-19, among other conditions.


    The goal of this treatment option is to help keep high risk people out of the hospital and from dying of COVID-19. This treatment is currently in short supply, so it is only available to those who would see the highest level of benefit from taking it.


    How to receive


    These antiviral pills are only available with a prescription. To obtain a prescription, see a prescribing provider (like your primary care provider, nurse practitioner, or physician’s assistant).


    Bottom line


    If you have chronic conditions that make you at high risk for progression to severe disease (vaccinated or not) and you get COVID-19, contact your primary care provider as soon as possible to discuss these new treatment options.


    Please note: these medications are not a substitute for vaccination. They are not intended to be used as a pre-exposure prevention or post-exposure prevention or for hospitalized individuals or as a substitution for medical intervention.


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