LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — By now, you've heard that pills designed to fight COVID-19 have been approved. But with any new thing, you probably have questions about what they are and what they do.
Pfizer's Paxlovid pill was approved on Wednesday, with Merck and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics Molnupiravir approved Thursday morning.
We took some of the most common questions to health experts like Dr. Maddison Schuller of West Side Pharmacy to see what you need to know.
"So with these, we're really trying to prevent hospitalizations, that's the main goal here, so it's for people with mild to moderate COVID," Dr. Schuller said. "Possibly those that are risk of progressing to hospitalization, you know, we want to prioritize the higher risk patients."
Both pills don't stop the virus, but they do help lessen the symptoms. Merck's pill, meant to be taken by those 18 and older, reportedly lowers the risk of hospitalization or death by 30%.
Pfizer's pill is meant for those 12 and up, and reports theirs' lowers that risk by 89%.
Both pills do the same thing – they stop the virus from replicating itself, but they target different things to make that happen.
Dr. Schuller says getting both pills into your system within five days of the first symptoms is key.
"Be able to recognize those signs and symptoms of COVID so that if they do start to feel bad, they can get that test early so we can get them treated," she said. "Five days is not a huge window, and we really wanna get them treated fast."
Dr. Schuller says she's unsure when these pills will be available in central Arkansas, but she does know some things for sure.
Pills will be distributed to places hit hardest by COVID in Arkansas, and you'll need a prescription to get them.