June 14, 2022
If you test positive for COVID-19, there are now two authorized prescription medicines to help reduce your risk of developing severe illness — and the federal government is making it easier to access them through its Test to Treat program.
Most people who get COVID-19 have mild illness and can recover at home using over-the-counter treatments, if necessary. Others, particularly the elderly and those with underlying conditions or weakened immune systems, may benefit from prescription antiviral medicines that reduce the risk of developing severe COVID-19 illness.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has authorized the emergency use of two antiviral drugs in mild to moderate cases. Pfizer's Paxlovid™ is authorized for people ages 12 and older who are at higher risk of serious illness. Lagevrio® (molnupiravir), developed by Merck, is authorized for adults (18 and older) who are at higher risk of serious illness and not able to take other treatments. Both treatments are taken as pills by mouth and must be started within the first five days of having symptoms to be effective.
To help people take advantage of these treatments, the Department of Health and Human Services developed a nationwide Test to Treat program. Through the program, you can test for COVID-19, see a healthcare professional, get a prescription, if eligible, and have your prescription filled - all at the same place. The medications are covered by the federal government during the coronavirus public health emergency. Test to Treat locations include thousands of pharmacies, urgent care centers, and health clinics across the country.
If you test positive using an at-home test or at a site that isn't part of the Test to Treat program, you can still go to a Test to Treat location to see a medical professional and receive a prescription. If you have a primary care doctor, you can also contact them for help.
To find a location near you, visit the COVID-19 Test to Treat locator or call 800-232-0233 (TTY 1-888-720-7489).