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?

According to the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), you are eligible if you:

  • Have tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 (PCR or antigen).
  • Are within five days of symptom onset.
  • Have symptoms consistent with mild to moderate COVID-19.
  • Are not hospitalized due to COVID-19.
  • Are age 12 years and older for (Paxlovid) nirmatrelvir/ritonavir, or 18 years and older for molnupiravir.
  • Weigh at least 88 pounds
  • Do not have a health condition or medication therapy that restricts you from having an antiviral medication, your health provider will help make this decision

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 320-200-3200 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 CentraCare. How can I be considered?

If you’ve tested positive for COVID-19 with an at home/antigen test, please contact us at 320-200-3200 to be screened for eligibility for oral antiviral treatment, pending adequate supply.

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

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

I’m not a current patient at CentraCare, 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?

These medications now are available at many pharmacies after being prescribed by a member of your health team.

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?

The pharmacy may charge a dispensing fee to your insurance but there is no cost for the actual medication at this time.

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.