StarMed planning to offer antiviral pill to treat COVID-19 if it receives FDA authorization

StarMed now offers antiviral pill to treat COVID-19
Published: Dec. 2, 2021 at 8:59 PM EST
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - StarMed is hopeful to start offering the antiviral pill to treat patients with mild-to-moderate COVID-19 symptoms if it receives FDA Emergency Use Authorization.

According to StarMed, it is the first pill offered to treat the virus and is most effective when it’s taken within five days of being diagnosed with COVID-19.

The pill, manufactured by Merck and called “Molnupiravir,” was shown in clinical trials to reduce COVID-19 patients’ chance of hospitalization and death by 30 percent.

They say you will be able to sign up for a cost-free Virtual Visit from your own home or call one of their testing locations to speak with a provider who can prescribe the treatment.

“The treatment is most effective if you begin as soon as you’re diagnosed with COVID-19,” StarMed said. “This is not a substitute for a COVID-19 vaccination, which is still your best defense against the virus.”

Here are some Frequently Asked Questions (from StarMed):

Who should get this treatment? This pill is for high-risk adults who are over 60 or those who are younger but have other conditions that put them at high risk of bad outcomes from COVID-19, like comorbidities such as diabetes, heart disease or obesity.

When did this treatment begin? We are currently waiting on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to approve Molnupiravir for emergency use authorization (EUA). We will begin treatment at that time.

What is the cost of the treatment or Virtual Visit? All COVID-19 related treatments are being provided to you cost-free with or without insurance.

How is the COVID-19 pill treatment different from other treatments?C urrently, COVID-19 treatments require infusions. A pill treatment is quicker, easier, and could ultimately reduce the number of hospitalizations and death.

How does the COVID-19 pill treatment work?It works like most antiviral drugs, by inhibiting the ability of the SARS-CoV-2 virus to replicate. Doctors hope that they can treat COVID-19 much the same way they do the flu with pills like Tamiflu.

If the COVID-19 pill is available, I won’t need a vaccine, right? No, a COVID-19 vaccination remains the best way to protect yourself from getting the virus and spreading it to others. The pill doesn’t replace a vaccine. The more people that get vaccinated, the faster we can eliminate the pandemic.

Should I take the COVID-19 pill treatment if I’m pregnant? Since pregnant women were not a part of the study to show the pills safety, it is not recommended since we do not know if the medication can cause any issues to your baby. For women from the ages of 12-51 a negative pregnancy test is needed to prescribe this medication.

What are possible side effects from this medication? The most common side effects reported are nausea and vomiting. No significant side effects were reported in the study.

Does this pill work against the Delta and Omicron variants? As of right now we do not have enough information about the Omicron variant to know if the pill is effective. It is effective against the Delta variant.

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