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New easy-to-use COVID-19 pills come with a catch

Pfizer COVID-19 Pill
Posted at 10:56 AM, Dec 26, 2021

(AP) — Newly infected COVID-19 patients have two new treatment options that can be taken at home.

But that convenience comes with a catch: The pills have to be taken as soon as possible once symptoms appear.

The challenge is getting tested, getting a prescription, and starting the pills in a short window.

U.S. regulators authorized Pfizer’s pill, Paxlovid, and Merck’s molnupiravir last week. In high-risk patients, both were shown to reduce the chances of hospitalization or death from COVID-19, although Pfizer’s was much more effective.

A closer look:

WHO SHOULD TAKE THESE PILLS?

The antiviral pills aren’t for everyone who gets a positive test. The pills are intended for those with mild or moderate COVID-19 who are more likely to become seriously ill. That includes older people and those with other health conditions like heart disease, cancer or diabetes that make them more vulnerable. Both pills were OK’d for adults while Paxlovid is authorized for children ages 12 and older.