A second oral anti-viral medicine for people with COVID-19 will be available in the community on prescription from tomorrow.
Molnupiravir (trade name Lagevrio) was granted provisional approval for use by Medsafe last month. Paxlovid, the first oral antiviral available to treat COVID-19 in Aotearoa, arrived in April. There is already a good supply of both medicines available through a network of pharmacies across the country.
Both antivirals are an important step in the Omicron response. They reduce the risk of severe illness and hospitalisation in people who are at higher risk of poor outcomes from COVID-19 infection. They are prescribed by a health practitioner, most likely in primary care, and taken at home.
Those who will be able to access molnupiravir will be adults (people aged over 18 years) with mild or moderate COVID-19 who have a combination of factors that make them higher risk including Māori and Pacific peoples, elderly, unvaccinated, and people with complex health needs and/or disabilities.
Molnupiravir should be administered as soon as possible after diagnosis of COVID-19 and within five days of symptoms appearing. The medicine comes in capsule form and the recommended dosage is four capsules taken twice a day for five days. People who have tested positive for COVID-19 and who have other existing health conditions can contact their health practitioner for an assessment.