If You Get COVID, Ought to You Attempt to Get Paxlovid? Right here's How (With or With out Well being Insurance coverage) – KQED

August 18, 2022 By admin

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For those who take a look at constructive for COVID and have sure threat elements that improve your probabilities of changing into significantly in poor health, chances are you’ll be eligible to begin a COVID antiviral therapy like Paxlovid.
Paxlovid is just out there by prescription, and even if you happen to get it prescribed, the subsequent step is discovering someplace with sufficient provide to fill that prescription.
Maintain studying for the whole lot it’s worthwhile to learn about Paxlovid and how you can get it within the Bay Space, from who qualifies for Paxlovid and what “Paxlovid rebound” is, to the place to discover a Paxlovid prescription close to you. Alternatively, use these hyperlinks to leap straight to the reply you are in search of:
Easy methods to discover Paxlovid close to you:
Key info about Paxlovid:
How Paxlovid works
Paxlovid (pronounced “PAX-loh-vid” or “Pax-LOH-vid”) is a extremely efficient antiviral therapy for COVID, out there by prescription for individuals at larger threat from the illness. The therapy is over the course of 5 days, by taking a tablet orally twice a day. Study precisely who qualifies for Paxlovid.
Antiviral drugs like Paxlovid work by stopping viruses from multiplying within the physique. Research by Paxlovid’s producer Pfizer present that in unvaccinated individuals at critical threat of COVID issues, Paxlovid was almost 90% efficient at lowering the chance of hospitalization or dying from COVID.
Paxlovid “assaults the virus in a mechanism that is completely different than your immune system,” explains Dr. Bob Wachter, professor and chair of the division of medication, College of California, San Francisco. That is notably helpful for immunosuppressed individuals whose immune methods did not produce an excellent response after getting their COVID vaccine — as a result of “the Paxlovid ought to nonetheless work fantastic.”
Whereas Pfizer’s Paxlovid has turn out to be a extra well-known COVID antiviral drug not too long ago, a supplier should still recommend one other treatment for you. The opposite main COVID antiviral is molnupiravir, which is just out there to individuals age 18 and over. The U.S. Meals and Drug Administration’s information has proven that molnupiravir is a a lot much less efficient drug than Paxlovid, however docs should still prescribe it instead of Paxlovid for a number of causes (together with the chance of Paxlovid’s interactions with different drugs you take).

(There are additionally monoclonal antibody therapies, which differ from antiviral drugs. Monoclonal antibody therapies are appropriate for sure individuals at larger threat from extreme sickness from COVID, and are given as a single IV injection. See the CDC’s full checklist of therapies out there for COVID sufferers.)
Ought to I take Paxlovid if I am eligible?
In response to Wachter, beginning a course of Paxlovid is the “proper factor to do” if you happen to’re high-risk and eligible for the prescription, and are not taking some other drugs that may intervene with the therapy.
Wachter additionally notes that taking Paxlovid may additionally lower your probabilities of creating lengthy COVID. Whereas he says the proof is not but there, Wachter’s hopeful that as a result of Paxlovid shortly lowers the quantity of virus in an individual’s physique, it’d, in concept, “lower the speed of lengthy COVID.”
When ought to I believe twice about taking Paxlovid?
For Wachter, the “judgment name” enters when your threat of hospitalization or dying from COVID is low to begin with — wherein case you’d “be taking Paxlovid for no actual profit.” That mentioned, it is unlikely a supplier would even prescribe you Paxlovid in the event that they did not really feel your private threat elements justified it.
You may additionally have heard concerning the “Paxlovid rebound” phenomenon, which is when individuals taking Paxlovid begin testing constructive once more for COVID after every week. Learn extra about rebound circumstances beneath.
COVID antiviral therapies aren’t prescribed to each one that will get COVID.
Therapies are often reserved for adults and youngsters age 12 years and older who’re deemed to be at larger threat for extreme sickness from COVID, as a result of they’ve a number of threat elements or well being circumstances that improve their probabilities of changing into very sick.
In response to the CDC, these embrace individuals over 65, people who find themselves immunocompromised or have a weakened immune system, individuals with some kinds of disabilities, individuals with power liver, kidney or lung illness (together with average to extreme bronchial asthma) and other people with coronary heart circumstances. See the CDC’s checklist of circumstances that will put individuals at larger threat from COVID.
For those who’re undecided whether or not you are eligible for a COVID antiviral therapy, it is value getting knowledgeable opinion in your eligibility from your individual well being care supplier, you probably have medical insurance, or by visiting an Optum Serve Check to Deal with location if you do not have insurance coverage. Do not robotically assume you are not eligible — you’ll have threat elements you are not conscious of {that a} medical skilled will ask you about.
You might not even be acquainted with all of the circumstances that put an individual at larger threat for COVID. For instance, the CDC’s checklist of potential threat elements contains psychological well being circumstances and temper issues like despair, and in addition lists being a present or former smoker.
You may’t combine Paxlovid with sure different drugs
“It is advisable to be sure your physician or the pharmacist who’s serving to you understands the opposite medicine you are on, as a result of chances are you’ll want to alter the doses,” notes Wachter. “You might even must cease a few of them for 5 days.”
That is the rationale it is actually necessary to be clear about some other drugs you take once you communicate to a well being care supplier about getting Paxlovid or one other COVID antiviral: Mixing them might be harmful to your well being. For those who’re taking drugs that may work together badly with Pfizer’s Paxlovid, a supplier could prescribe you one other COVID antiviral — Merck’s molnupiravir — as an alternative.
Paxlovid and different COVID antivirals must be taken throughout the first 5 days after you take a look at constructive
Be clear with any supplier you communicate with about how way back you examined constructive.
For those who’ve examined constructive heading right into a weekend, or on the weekend itself, do not forget that some therapy areas could also be closed at the moment.
The ‘Paxlovid rebound’ is a factor
In a nutshell, the ‘Paxlovid rebound’ is when somebody checks constructive for COVID and takes Paxlovid, and checks damaging on an antigen take a look at for COVID after a number of days — however then redevelops their COVID signs and checks constructive once more on an antigen take a look at after that. Wachter says that in these circumstances, the damaging take a look at comes on common on Day 7 or 8 of a COVID an infection, and the constructive “rebound” take a look at and return of signs occurs round Day 11 or 12.
How frequent is a Paxlovid rebound? Wachter says it is “actually a quickly rising story,” since solely 2% of individuals in Paxlovid’s scientific trials skilled it nevertheless it may now appear extra frequent among the many basic public due to the “amplification phenomenon of social media.” He says rebound infections “are usually delicate,” albeit lasting roughly 5 to seven days, and you need to assume you are infectious once more if you happen to take a look at constructive that second time.
So ought to the chance of a rebound an infection make you assume twice about taking Paxlovid? For Wachter, the advantages of the therapy are nonetheless so robust that “if I used to be at excessive threat, I positively would take it,” he says. “However you must have your eyes open to the potential for rebound.”
“To me, it would not change the general advantage of follow of it, nevertheless it clearly is an space that’s crying out for analysis,” says Wachter. “We do not even know legitimately what share of individuals get it.”
Many individuals report Paxlovid has a robust metallic style
Paxlovid is very efficient at stopping hospitalization and dying from COVID, and “the aspect impact profile could be very, very delicate,” says Wachter — however “about 1 in 20 individuals within the scientific trials have been reported to have a metallic style of their mouth.” Or as The Atlantic places it, “it’d make your mouth style like absolute rubbish the entire time you’re taking the capsules.”
Do not be shocked if you happen to’re one of many share of people that report an “altered sense of style” from taking Paxlovid, which is non permanent.
What to know earlier than you start, if you happen to’re uninsured
Be sure to have the next available:
All through the method, be clear with the supplier about any signs you are experiencing, and ensure they understand how way back you examined constructive, since Paxlovid and different antiviral medicine have to be taken inside 5 days of a constructive take a look at.
Additionally, since you are not seeing a daily supplier, maintain reminding any consultant or well being care skilled you speak with, both in individual or on the telephone, that you simply haven’t got medical insurance and get them to substantiate you will not be requested to pay out-of-pocket prices once you’re being evaluated, once you’re being provided a prescription or once you’re filling a prescription. This will assist keep away from nasty surprises later down the road.
Additionally, be very clear with whomever you communicate with that you do not essentially know the place to fill any prescription for Paxlovid that you simply obtain. Ask repeatedly, if vital, the place the supplier recommends you fill that prescription domestically — since that would find yourself being the exhausting half.
For those who reside in San Francisco or Contra Costa, your county is offering extra help on discovering COVID therapies like Paxlovid, particularly if you happen to’re uninsured. Leap to data for uninsured San Francisco or Contra Costa residents.
1. Discover a Check to Deal with web site that is run by Optum Serve
Because the identify “Check to Deal with” implies, these areas are locations the place you will get examined for COVID after which doubtlessly handled for it by being prescribed COVID antivirals on-site. Since the Check to Deal with program has not too long ago been expanded, visiting a Check to Deal with web site ought to — in concept — have gotten simpler within the final a number of weeks.
Some Check to Deal with websites even have provides of COVID antivirals on-site, that means you can (in concept) stroll away from a Check to Deal with web site having been examined for COVID, evaluated for eligibility for COVID antivirals, prescribed the precise therapy(s) and handed your drugs.
The state says that providers at Optum Serve Check to Deal with websites are free to uninsured individuals (this implies: these Check to Deal with websites run by Optum Serve, which is the federal well being providers enterprise of Optum and UnitedHealth Group). So if you happen to’re uninsured and also you go to a Check to Deal with location that is not run by Optum Serve, you can doubtlessly end up requested to pay prices out of pocket.
See a listing of Check to Deal with websites close to you on the State of California’s map device. While you enter your metropolis or ZIP code into the Check to Deal with locator map, you’ll see:
For those who’re uninsured and utilizing the Check to Deal with locator map to discover a web site, be sure you look particularly for the areas that say “Optum Serve.” You can even use Optum Serve’s personal location finder device on-line to see their websites on a map. The location will invite you to make an appointment for a speedy antigen COVID take a look at after which keep on-site on your outcomes and get treatment (if eligible), multi function appointment. You can even name Optum Serve direct at (888) 634-1123. Go to the Optum Serve COVID testing and therapy web site.
You may name the Check to Deal with name heart at (800) 232-0233 (TTY 1-888-720-7489) — help is obtainable 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. PT seven days every week, in English, Spanish and greater than 150 different languages. The Incapacity Data and Entry Line (DIAL) can also be out there to assist individuals with disabilities entry providers: (888) 677-1199, Monday-Friday, 6 a.m.-5 p.m., or e-mail [email protected]
If the Check to Deal with web site you have visited would not have provides of the antiviral drug they’ve prescribed you, ask for workers’s help and recommendation on the place you need to then go to refill that prescription.
2. Go to a CVS pharmacy
CVS pharmacies provide a variety of testing and therapy choices for COVID, and a CVS spokesperson confirmed that presently, there may be nonetheless no value for uninsured individuals to entry testing, vaccinations or oral antiviral drugs at CVS Pharmacy.
To begin the method, schedule an appointment for a COVID take a look at at one in all CVS’s MinuteClinics of their pharmacies (or discover the closest MinuteClinic to you utilizing their map). For those who take a look at constructive for COVID on the appointment, the positioning says it is possible for you to to debate therapy choices with the supplier on-site — and, if you happen to’re eligible, get a prescription that you simply might be able to fill at that very same CVS pharmacy. If you do not have insurance coverage, each the take a look at and the prescription might be free, however you may must get the take a look at on the CVS MinuteClinic first; in any other case, chances are you’ll be charged for the prescription. Discover a CVS MinuteClinic close to you.
3. Reside in San Francisco or Contra Costa? Your county is providing particular help on COVID therapy
San Francisco residents can name the San Francisco Well being Community for therapy and to be taught who’s eligible for Wholesome San Francisco and Medi-Cal: (415) 682-1740. Learn extra about getting COVID therapy in San Francisco, particularly if you happen to’re uninsured.
Contra Costa County residents can name the Contra Costa Well being Providers Recommendation Nurse line for a possible referral to a health care provider: (877) 661-6230. Learn extra about getting COVID therapy in Contra Costa County, particularly if you happen to’re uninsured.
4. Contact a group well being heart close to you
Use the U.S. Division of Well being & Human Providers’ Discover a Well being Heart map to see group well being facilities close to you, and get their contact particulars.
Contact a close-by well being heart to ask about your choices for COVID therapy and getting a Paxlovid prescription with out insurance coverage.

What to know earlier than you start
Be sure to have the next available:
Be clear with the supplier about any signs you are experiencing, and ensure they understand how way back you examined constructive, since Paxlovid and different antiviral medicine have to be taken inside 5 days of a constructive take a look at.
Additionally, be very clear with whomever you communicate with that you do not essentially know the place to fill any prescription for Paxlovid that you simply obtain. Ask repeatedly, if vital, the place the supplier recommends you fill that prescription domestically — since that would find yourself being the exhausting half.
1. Name your well being care supplier to get your prescription
When you have medical insurance, the very first thing you need to do is contact your well being care supplier — or, if you happen to’re capable of, your common main care supplier.
Inform your well being care supplier that you have examined constructive for COVID, and that you simply’re concerned with Paxlovid or one other COVID antiviral drug. Accessing your well being care data, your supplier will be capable of decide whether or not you are eligible for these medicine, and weigh your threat elements along with your signs.
Inform your supplier about some other drugs you take, as COVID antiviral medicine can have harmful interactions with different medicine. Be clear along with your supplier about any signs you are experiencing, and ensure they understand how way back you examined constructive, since Paxlovid and different antiviral medicine have to be taken inside 5 days of a constructive take a look at.
In case your supplier believes you are eligible to obtain Paxlovid or one other COVID antiviral drug, they provides you with a prescription, which you’ll be able to then go fill at a location within the Bay Space that has provides of that drug out there.
Ask your supplier whether or not they’re capable of help you to find a location to fill your prescription — some suppliers could make calls to native pharmacies and suppliers in your behalf. You can even attempt utilizing the Check to Deal with web site locator map to seek out areas which can be filling Paxlovid prescriptions: Enter your location, then search for the “Places to fill a prescription” part.
2. Discover a Check to Deal with web site 
If making contact along with your common well being care supplier is proving tough, you can attempt a Check to Deal with web site.
“Check to Deal with” are locations the place you will get examined for COVID and doubtlessly handled for it by being prescribed COVID antivirals on-site. Since the Check to Deal with program has not too long ago been expanded, visiting a Check to Deal with web site ought to — in concept — have gotten simpler within the final a number of weeks.
Some Check to Deal with websites even have provides of COVID antivirals on-site, that means you can (in concept) stroll away from a Check to Deal with web site having been examined for COVID, evaluated for eligibility for COVID antivirals, prescribed the precise therapy(s) and handed your drugs.
See a listing of Check to Deal with websites close to you on the state of California’s map device. While you enter your metropolis or ZIP code into the Check to Deal with locator map, you’ll see:
When you have medical insurance, you may go to any Check to Deal with web site close to you (whereas Optum Serve Check to Deal with websites are free for individuals with out insurance coverage).
You may name the Check to Deal with name heart at (800) 232-0233 (TTY 1-888-720-7489) — help is obtainable 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. PT seven days every week, in English, Spanish and greater than 150 different languages. The Incapacity Data and Entry Line (DIAL) can also be out there to assist individuals with disabilities entry providers: (888) 677-1199, Monday-Friday, 6 a.m.-5 p.m., or e-mail [email protected]
If the Check to Deal with web site you have visited would not have provides of the antiviral drug they’ve prescribed you, ask for workers’s help and recommendation on the place you need to then go to refill that prescription.
3. Go to a CVS pharmacy
CVS pharmacies provide a variety of testing and therapy choices for COVID.
To begin the method, schedule an appointment for a COVID take a look at at one in all CVS’s MinuteClinics of their pharmacies (or discover the closest MinuteClinic to you utilizing their map). For those who take a look at constructive for COVID on the appointment, the positioning says it is possible for you to to debate therapy choices with the supplier on-site — and, if you happen to’re eligible, get a prescription you might be able to fill at that very same CVS pharmacy. Carry your medical insurance particulars to make sure you do not find yourself with any out-of-pocket prices.

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