The Massachusetts Department of Public Health told providers in the state earlier this week that they could begin writing prescriptions for certain COVID oral antivirals at select Walgreens stores across the state. Currently available oral antivirals aim to stop the virus from replicating and further infecting someone’s cells.
The antivirals in question are Paxlovid and molnupiravir, the two oral antivirals authorized under the FDA’s emergency use authorization. Stores in Boston, Cambridge, Chelsea, Worcester, Framingham and other locations across the state will carry both antivirals. The release included 32 Walgreens locations that will carry them.
“DPH encourages providers to offer oral antiviral medications to all patients at higher risk for moderate to severe COVID-19,” read a statement sent to providers.
DPH updated its clinical guidelines for COVID-19 therapies on January 28 in a way that, according to the statement, “provides greater flexibility for clinical decision-making and expands the groups of eligible patients recommended for antivirals. “.
Both therapies are for people with mild to moderate COVID-19 who are at risk of progression to more severe disease, according to the guidelines.
Patients can pick up their prescription for free, even if they don’t have insurance on file, according to the statement sent to providers. Antivirals can also be delivered.
In addition to Walgreens locations across the state, antiviral treatments are available at state-sponsored Gothams treatment sites in Athol, Everett, Holyoke, Fall River, Lowell, Pittsfield and Plymouth.
The state maintains a COVID-19 Therapies Finder with information about which COVID therapies are available and where.
Both drugs have been shown to help treat COVID-19. According to the American Medical Association, Pfizer’s Paxvloid is 88% effective in preventing hospitalization and death. Treatment with these oral antivirals should begin within five days of the onset of symptoms.
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