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FAQs About Antiviral Drugs

What are Paxlovid and molnupiravir?

Paxlovid and molnupiravir are oral antiviral pills that help treat COVID-19. They are a 5-day treatment course that you can take at home. It is important to take the pills all five days, even if you start to feel better.

Who is eligible to receive Paxlovid or molnupiravir?

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) has given guidance on who to prioritize for treatment. The prioritization categories are based on who is at a greater risk of having the illness progress to severe COVID-19:

  • Age 65 or older
  • BMI of 35 kg/m2 or greater
  • Diabetes
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Chronic respiratory disease in patients ages 55 and older
  • High blood pressure in patients ages 55 and older
  • Immunocompromised status
  • Pregnancy
  • Black, indigenous, people of color

I'm not sure if I meet the criteria. How will I know?

When called with a positive COVID-19 test result, your care team will tell you if you’re a good candidate for Paxlovid or molnupiravir.

I'm a current patient who meets the criteria. When will I be able to get the antiviral drugs?

Please contact us at 320-351-1733 to be screened for eligibility for oral antiviral treatment, pending adequate supply.

I’m a current patient but tested positive for COVID-19 outside of Carris Health. How can I be considered?

If you’ve tested positive for COVID-19 with an at home/antigen test or a PCR test from another organization, you should contact your primary care doctor to report that result. You will then be evaluated on whether you are eligible, based on MDH criteria, for an antiviral therapy if there is adequate supply.

If I can get the medications elsewhere before Carris Health contacts me, should I?

Yes. Some of our patients are cared for by clinicians outside of Carris Health. We encourage you to get the treatment wherever you’re able to first.

I’m not a current patient at Carris Health, but I am eligible for this treatment. How can I make an appointment?

We recommend patients contact their current care provider to determine eligibility for these therapies, as it is important to review a patient’s health history and medications before prescribing.

If I’m told I’m eligible to receive an antiviral drug, can I take a few days to decide if I want it?

Paxlovid and molnupiravir need to be started within the first five days of symptoms to be effective. If you wait to see if symptoms progress, you may miss this window of time, or the treatment may no longer be available.

Where will I be able to get the treatment?

When you are approved for the medications, we will provide instructions on how to obtain them. Only a few pharmacies/hospitals in Minnesota have the drugs in supply, including a few in Central Minnesota.

Will these treatments interfere with my other medications?

Paxlovid does have some significant drug interactions. A pharmacist will review your medications with you to make sure the antiviral drugs are still a good choice.

What testing has gone into development of these drugs?

These medications have gone through clinical trials that enabled the FDA to give them emergency use authorization. Due to these scientific and well-run studies, we know more about their actions, safety and efficacy than we do about non-authorized treatments that some request or choose to use.

How much will these medications cost me?

Paxlovid or molnupiravir are currently free.

Can I take these medications instead of getting vaccinated?

Paxlovid and molnupiravir are not substitutes for vaccination for people who can receive the vaccine and have an appropriate and expected immune response.