Oral antivirals

Allina Health is offering oral antivirals to eligible individuals.

Oral antivirals (medicines taken by mouth) are used to treat a person who has COVID-19. Two oral antivirals are currently available:

  • Paxlovid (nirmatrelvir/ritonavir)
  • molnupiravir

Eligibility criteria

The current eligibility criteria for treatment at Allina Health is that you:

  • are age 18 and older for molnupiravir or age 12 and older and weigh at least 88 pounds for Paxlovid
  • have tested positive for COVID-19 (RT-PCR nasopharyngeal swab or antigen test)
  • have mild to moderate symptoms (You are not in the hospital and you do not need oxygen.)
  • must be able to start the treatment within five days of when your symptoms start

Not eligible

You are ineligible (not able to have this treatment at Allina Health) if you meet one of these criteria:

  • are younger than age 18 for molnupiravir or younger than age 12 and weigh less than 88 pounds for Paxlovid
  • are pregnant or breastfeeding
  • have severe COVID-19 which requires a hospital stay
  • need pre- or post-exposure prophylaxis (This treatment is not authorized by the FDA to be used to prevent COVID-19.)

How do I get oral antivirals?

If you meet the criteria listed above, please call your health care provider as soon as possible to schedule a visit. This can be a virtual or in-person visit. You may also need additional tests before starting this treatment.


Oral antivirals frequently asked questions

Oral antivirals (medicines taken by mouth) are used to treat a person who has COVID-19. Two oral antivirals are currently available:

  • Paxlovid™ (nirmatrelvir/ritonavir)
  • molnupiravir

Oral antivirals are believed to be effective against the Omicron variant.

To have this treatment, you need to:

  • have tested positive for COVID-19
  • have at least one risk factor for severe COVID-19
  • have mild or moderate symptoms and do not need oxygen
  • not be in the hospital
  • have the treatment within five days of when your symptoms start
  • not be pregnant (negative pregnancy test)
  • be age 18 and older for molnupiravir or age 12 and older and weigh at least 88 pounds for Paxlovid

If you meet the criteria listed above, please call your health care provider as soon as possible to schedule a visit. This can be a virtual or in-person visit. You may also need additional tests before starting this treatment.

These medicines are currently in short supply. It is likely that people at an increased risk of serious illness from COVID-19 will receive these treatments first. Call your health care provider with any questions.

Before having oral antivirals, it is important to tell your health care provider if you:

  • have a serious illness
  • have any allergies
  • are taking any medicines (including all prescription, over-the-counter, vitamins, herbal or natural products)
  • are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed
  • are pregnant or plan to become pregnant

Oral antivirals will help:

  • keep you feeling well
  • lower your risk of getting worse from COVID-19 or being admitted to the hospital
  • shorten the length of time your symptoms last

Oral antivirals could cause side effects, which can differ from person to person. They are still being studied and there could be other side effects that have not been reported.

Common side effects include:

  • nausea (upset stomach)
  • vomiting (throwing up)
  • diarrhea
  • headache
  • dizziness or lightheadedness
  • itching

Tell your health care provider right away if you have any side effect that bothers you or does not go away.

Some serious side effects such as an allergic reaction are possible, but not as common. Symptoms of an allergic reaction include fever, chills, nausea, headache, shortness of breath, low blood pressure, wheezing, swelling of your lips, face, or throat, rash including hives, itching, muscle aches, and dizziness.

If you have an allergic reaction, call 911 or have someone drive you to the Emergency Department right away. Be sure to tell medical staff that you have tested positive for COVID-19. After you have received care, tell your health care provider about your side effects.

Your insurance provider will be billed for part of the treatment (giving you the medicine). Call your insurance provider to see how much you will need to pay. If you do not have insurance or have any questions, talk with your health care provider.

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