December 27, 2021

Details on Approved At-Home COVID-19 Treatments

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In late December, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved two antiviral treatments against COVID-19. Both can be taken at home but must be prescribed by a doctor. But in both cases, seeking treatment from a doctor early is key.

Center’s Health Care has all of the information you need to know on both Paxlovid and Molnupiravir, two treatments that can prevent COVID-19 from becoming severe, including helping to reduce the risk of hospitalization and death.

Early Diagnosis and Treatment Is Key

If you’re familiar with the flu therapy Tamiflu, the COVID-19 antivirals work in a similar fashion. When treated in the early stages, Tamiflu helps reduce the length and severity of flu-related symptoms. It’s pretty much the same for Paxlovid and Molnupiravir—starting the course of medicine directly after a diagnosis is aimed to keep symptoms mild to moderate and prevent serious complications that would require hospitalization or become life-threatening.

If given within the first five days of symptoms appearing, Paxlovid can be up to 88% effective against hospitalization or death. Molnupiravir hasn’t shown to be quite as effective, but it’s believed that it can cut down that risk by 50%.

Medicine for High-Risk People at the Moment

For now, the medicines are only recommended for those 12 and older and also at high-risk for severe complications from COVID-19 that would lead to hospitalization. High-risk refers to those with conditions that could make an infection worse, including immunodeficiencies, diabetes, obesity, cancer, etc.

The FDA also emphasized that these drugs are only effective once someone is infected. It is not to be given as a preventative measure or should it be used as a substitute for a COVID-19 vaccine.

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