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Updated eligibility for oral Covid-19 treatments

 Updated eligibility for oral Covid-19 treatments

Despite the increasing covid cases, it is imperative to note that most Covid-19 cases are mild; hence it is manageable at home. However, people at higher risk need urgent medical assistance at the earliest, wherein the healthcare provider can prescribe them specific antiviral treatments. Therefore, let us look at the updated criteria for oral Covid-19 treatments.

Eligibility for oral Covid-19 treatments

In the light of recent surges of Covid cases and after much deliberation, the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee recommended changes to the eligibility criteria for oral treatments. Besides, the changes will take effect from Monday (11 July 2022); you can stop the Covid-19 infection from becoming severe by consuming tablets or capsules as antiviral treatments.

Doctors suggest that people need to start courses of antivirus treatment as soon as they experience Covid-19 symptoms. Besides, people at a higher risk of serious illness are eligible for antiviral treatments.

Learn more about oral antiviral treatments for COVID-19.

Senior Australians and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

Written below are the specific groups of people who may be eligible for antiviral treatments if they test positive:

  • Older adults who are 70 years older regardless of risk factors and with or without symptoms.
  • Older adults who are 50 years or older with two additional risk factors.
  • Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander, 30 years or older with two additional risk factors

Risk factors for these groups include:

  • Older adults living in residential aged care may or may not receive an efficient healthcare system.
  • People who are suffering due to disability with multiple conditions or frailty.
  • Older adults who are suffering due to neurological conditions like stroke or dementia and demyelinating diseases such as Guillain Barre syndrome and multiple sclerosis.
  • Obesity or diabetes (type I or II diabetes requiring medication).
  • Chronic respiratory conditions like COPD and moderate or severe asthma.
  • Kidney failure or cirrhosis
  • Heart failure, coronary artery disease and cardiomyopathies
  • Reduced access to appropriate or higher level healthcare.

People aged 18 years and older

If you are 18 and older, test covid positive and are moderately or severely immunocompromised; you may be eligible for antiviral treatments.

The conditions are as follows:

  • Primary or acquired immunodeficiency (HIV)
  • Blood cancer or some red blood cell disorders like thalassemia and sickle cell disease
  • Chemotherapy or whole-body radiotherapy in the last three months.
  • Congenital heart disease. Rituximab in the last twelve months.
  • Immunosuppressive treatments in the last three months.
  • Transplant recipient.
  • High-dose corticosteroids or pulse corticosteroid therapy in the last three months.
  • Cerebral palsy or Down syndrome.
  • Living with disability with multiple conditions or frailty.
Updated eligibility for oral Covid-19 treatments

How to get Covid-19 oral treatments?

Get in touch with your doctor if you test covid positive; they will observe your condition first and advise your eligibility accordingly. On the other hand, you will need a prescription if your doctor suggests oral antiviral treatments; also, you will find the medications at your local pharmacy.

It is noteworthy that if you have tested positive, you would be in isolation; hence your doctor can send the prescription to your pharmacist via digital mode. Then, your friend or family member can collect the medications.

Find your nearest pharmacy with the oral treatments.

Furthermore, you may or not be in touch with a general practitioner, or at times it is difficult to get an appointment to discuss your health issues and treatments. Therefore, you can call HealthDirect’s free helpline on 1800 022 222 or use the Service Finder to search for one near you.

Who should not have antiviral Covid-19 treatments?

Please do not have oral Covid-19 treatments if you are breastfeeding or pregnant; on the contrary, make sure you are up to date with your Covid-19 vaccinations. The same advice goes for people suffering from severe kidney or liver diseases; instead, they need to consult a doctor regarding alternative oral treatment.

Covid-19 treatments and fertility

If you are covid positive, the doctor prescribed the oral treatment Paxloid for Covid-19, and if you are also taking the prescribed birth control pill, you need to use extra contraception. It would be best if you went for the additional contraception because the oral treatment may affect how the pill works.

Doctors and healthcare experts suggest people use effective forms of contraception :

  • During treatment and for four days after with Lagevrio
  • During treatment and for seven days after with Paxlovid

On the other hand, men should use contraception during and for three months after taking Lagevrio; however, it is best to talk to your doctor regarding contraceptives according to your health needs and requirement.

Varsha Saini

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