About COVID-19 therapeutics

COVID-19 therapeutics (medicines) can be prescribed to reduce the severity of illness and help reduce the risk of hospitalisation for those who are most vulnerable to COVID-19.

Nirmatrelvir with ritonavir (brand name: Paxlovid™) and molnupiravir (brand name: Lagevrio®) are oral medicines for COVID-19 that can be prescribed for those in the community.

All available COVID-19 treatments for use in the community have undergone (or are currently undergoing) rigorous safety testing by Medsafe.

There are other COVID-19 medicines available in Aotearoa that are given intravenously.

More information is on the Pharmac website.


COVID-19 medicine in the community

Nirmatrelvir with ritonavir (Paxlovid™) and molnupiravir (Lagevrio®) are both five-day courses of tablets or capsules. They need to be taken within five days of a person first developing symptoms for COVID-19.

Most people without pre-existing medical conditions will experience a relatively mild illness and can safely manage their own COVID-19 symptoms and recovery at home.

These medicines are prescribed to people who have been diagnosed with COVID-19, have symptoms, and are at a higher risk of hospitalisation including Māori and Pacific peoples, those with complex health needs, the elderly and unvaccinated populations, and people with disabilities.

In most cases, these treatments will be prescribed by a person’s GP once they have been identified and clinically assessed. If someone is not enrolled with primary care, a clinical assessment will be carried out by the nearest COVID-19 Care Coordination Hub. These organisations know their communities and their needs best.

If you test positive for COVID-19 and have other health issues or long-term conditions, talk to your GP, community pharmacy, or health care provider as soon as possible. They will advise if nirmatrelvir with ritonavir (Paxlovid™) or molnupiravir (Lagevrio®)  are suitable for you.

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