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Paxlovid and other COVID pills
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Latest COVID-19 Pill Updates

Oct 31, 2022
A surge in respiratory syncytial virus is putting severe strain on children's hospitals nationwide. Hospitals first began seeing the unseasonable RSV rise in August. Now, many are reporting a case increase of over 300 percent compared to last month. (Becker's)
Oct 28, 2022
With the BQ.1.1 variant on the rise in Europe, experts express concern of a rise in COVID cases this winter; encourage everyone to max out their boosters and vaccinate their children (Houston Chronicle)

COVID-19 Pill FAQs

  • When will I be eligible for the Paxlovid COVID pill?

    The COVID pill is only for certain people who have already contracted COVID-19, states the FDA. If you have tested positive for COVID, you will need to see a doctor or other authorized healthcare provider in order to obtain a prescription for the medication.

  • What is the COVID pill treatment (Paxlovid & Molnupiravir)?

    According to the FDA, the COVID pill treatment is an oral antibody drug intended to reduce the risk of severe COVID symptoms. The pills can be taken at home just like any other prescription medication. Treatment with Paxlovid consists of three pills taken twice a day for five days. Molnupiravir treatment consists of four pills taken every 12 hours for five days.

  • How does the COVID pill treatment work?

    The two medications work in different ways according to FDA sources. Paxlovid inhibits the production of an enzyme that the virus needs to replicate. Molnupiravir causes the virus to mutate as it replicates until it’s no longer effective.

  • How long does the COVID pill treatment last?

    Both Paxlovid and molnupiravir are authorized to be taken for five days according to FDA recommendations.

  • Will the COVID pill be covered by my insurance?

    The US government is providing COVID pills for free. If you have health insurance, your doctor’s office or pharmacy may bill your insurance provider for an administrative fee.

  • What pharmacies are administering the COVID pill?

    The pharmacies administering the COVID pill will vary by state. Supplies are expected to be initially limited until manufacturers can increase production. Your doctor will be able to tell you where you can fill your prescription.

  • Do I need to be a US resident to receive the COVID pill?

    You do not need to be a US resident to receive the COVID pill as long as you meet other criteria (as outlined by the FDA). The Pfizer COVID pill is approved for those 12 years or older who are at high risk of hospitalization. The Merck pill is approved for high-risk adults only.

  • Will I be able to receive the COVID pill if I've already contracted COVID-19?

    Yes, the COVID pill is only for people who have tested positive for COVID-19. Treatment must begin within five days of the onset of symptoms, according to FDA instructions.

  • How many doses of the COVID pill will I need?

    Both pills should be taken for five days, in accordance with FDA instructions, but the doses differ. Paxlovid is three pills twice a day, for a total of 30 pills. Molnupiravir is four pills twice a day, for a total of 40 pills.

  • Where can I get a COVID pill treatment?

    If you are experiencing symptoms of COVID, make an appointment immediately with a doctor to be tested for COVID. If you test positive and are at high risk of hospitalization, your doctor can prescribe you a COVID pill and let you know where to fill your prescription. Some pharmacies may be able to perform a rapid COVID test and provide the medication all in one visit. Visit our directory to find a COVID testing provider near you.

COVID Pill (Paxlovid) Treatment

Diagnosing COVID-19 early is key to effective treatment, especially for individuals who are at high risk for hospitalization. Making a same-day or next-day appointment for a rapid COVID test is easy when you book through Solv. We partner with thousands of top-rated healthcare providers nationwide to make it easy for everyone to quickly find and access the care they need. Use our directory to find a healthcare provider near you and instantly book an appointment online.

Key facts about the COVID pill treatment

Two new antiviral pills — Paxlovid and molnupiravir — have been authorized by the FDA for the treatment of COVID-19. Paxlovid is made by Pfizer and molnupiravir is produced by Merck. Clinical trial results, as reported by the FDA, have shown that both pills can significantly reduce the risk of hospitalization and death among high-risk patients infected with COVID-19.

What is a COVID pill treatment?

COVID pill treatment is for patients who have already been diagnosed with COVID-19, says the FDA. The pills are different from the COVID vaccine, in that they are not taken to prevent a COVID infection. The pills should not be considered an alternative to vaccines, although they may be especially helpful for people who are immunocompromised or unable to be vaccinated, reports the FDA. COVID pills are intended to reduce the risk of being hospitalized with severe COVID symptoms, according to the DSA.

Before you ask your doctor for a COVID pill prescription, there are some important points to understand, as noted by the FDA:

  • COVID pills are approved only for certain groups. They are intended for individuals with mild symptoms who have a higher risk of developing serious illnesses from the COVID-19 virus. This includes people with underlying health conditions — such as heart disease or diabetes — as well as the elderly.
  • Some people should not take the COVID pill. The Pfizer COVID pill is approved for individuals 12 and older, while the Merck COVID pill is approved for adults only. Children should not take the Merck pill as it may interfere with bone growth. The pills are not recommended for pregnant women, or individuals with liver or kidney problems.
  • The pills may interact with other medications. Let your doctor know of any medications you use before taking the COVID pill. The pills may change the way some other medications work, including heart medications, blood thinners, and HIV medications. You will need to work closely with your doctor to monitor any drug interactions.
  • Treatment must be started as soon as possible. To be effective, the pills must be taken within five days of symptoms appearing. Pay close attention to any symptoms and schedule a rapid COVID test as soon as possible if you think you might have COVID. Some of the most common symptoms of COVID include cough, headache, fever, muscle aches, and loss of taste or smell.

What to expect from COVID pill treatment

If you test positive for COVID and your doctor deems you to be at high risk of hospitalization, they will likely provide you with a prescription and let you know where you can obtain your pills.

COVID treatment with Paxlovid or molnupiravir is typically very easy as the pills can be taken at home. The FDA recommends that you begin taking your medication as soon as possible, and take your medication exactly as directed by your doctor. Both medications can be taken with or without food. Swallow the capsules whole; do not open or crush them. If you miss a dose, follow your doctor’s instructions for when to take your next dose. Continue taking all of your medication even if you feel better, in accordance with FDA instructions.

According to the FDA, Tthe drugs are intended to reduce the risk of hospitalization. You may not immediately feel better and the duration of your illness may not be reduced when taking the COVID pill.

Possible side effects

Side effects of both drugs, according to the FDA, are reported to be minor. Paxlovid side effects may include muscle aches, diarrhea, high blood pressure, and loss of taste. Side effects of molnupiravir may include nausea, dizziness, and diarrhea.

Molnupiravir can interfere with fetal development. The FDA recommends that women who could become pregnant should use a reliable method of birth control during treatment and for at least four days after completing treatment. Men who are sexually active should use a reliable form of birth control for at least three months following treatment.

What to expect after treatment

FDA guidance recommends that if you do not feel better after taking your medication for five days, or if your symptoms worsen, contact your doctor immediately.

What safety measures should I continue to follow?

Even if you feel better, remain in isolation as long as directed by your doctor. If you are high-risk, continue to wear a mask in public and practice social distancing, in accordance with CDC guidelines and recommendations.

What scientists are still learning

The safety and effectiveness of COVID pill treatments will continue to be evaluated by the FDA, and other new treatments are likely to follow.


Solv has strict sourcing guidelines and relies on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We avoid using tertiary references.

  1. Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update: FDA Authorizes First Oral Antiviral for Treatment of COVID-19 (December 22, 2021)
  2. Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update: FDA Authorizes Additional Oral Antiviral for Treatment of COVID-19 in Certain Adults (December 23, 2021)
  3. Fact Sheet for Patients, Parents, and Caregivers: Paxlovid (December 22, 2021)
  4. Fact Sheet for Patients And Caregivers: Molnupiravir (December 23, 2021)

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