Molnupiravir

Sounds like 'mol-noo-PIRRA-veer'

Molnupiravir is used to treat some people who have moderate COVID-19 infection. Molnupiravir is also called Lagevrio®

What is molnupiravir?

Molnupiravir is given to some people to help fight a COVID-19 virus infection. It may help you get better faster and stay out of hospital. Molnupiravir reduces the amount of virus in your body. Molnupiravir is only useful when given within 5 days of the start of your COVID-19 illness so your doctors will decide whether you need this medicine.

Molnupiravir is only available on prescription from your doctor.

How to take molnupiravir

In Aotearoa New Zealand molnupiravir is available as capsules (200 mg). 

The dose of molnupiravir is 4 capsules twice a day for 5 days.

  • Timing: Try to space the doses evenly throughout the day, eg, first thing in the morning and at bedtime.
    Ideally these times should be at least 12 hours apart (for example, take 4 capsules at 8am and 4 capsules at 8pm).
  • Food: You can take your capsules with or without food. If molnupiravir gives you nausea (make you feel sick), try taking it with food.
  • Swallow your capsules whole with a glass of water. Do not open, chew, break or crush them. If you cannot swallow capsules whole, tell your doctor or pharmacist. 
  • Missed dose: If you miss a dose of molnupiravir and remember within 10 hours of the time it is usually taken, take it then.
    If you miss a dose by more than 10 hours, skip the missed dose and take the next dose at your regular time. Do not take extra doses of molnupiravir to make up for a forgotten dose.
  • Complete the course of treatment. Do not stop taking molnupiravir without talking to your healthcare provider, even if you feel better. A course of treatment lasts 5 days.

What to consider before taking molnupiravir

Are you pregnant or could you become pregnant?

Contraception is very important for both men and women taking molnupiravir
If you are pregnant, think you may be pregnant, planning to have a baby OR have a partner who may be able to become pregnant, do not take molnupiravir. Ask your doctor for advice as molnupiravir is not recommended during pregnancy.

Effect on pregnancy: There is risk of harm to an unborn child when taking molnupiravir. People taking molnupiravir should avoid becoming pregnant (eg, use contraception or abstain from sexual activity) while taking molnupiravir AND for 4 days after treatment ends. 

Effect on sperm: It is not known if molnupiravir can affect sperm in humans. If you are sexually active with a partner who could become pregnant, you should use a reliable method of contraception (birth control) during treatment AND for 3 months after the last dose of molnupiravir.

Are you breastfeeding?

Breastfeeding is not recommended during treatment AND for 4 days after the last dose of molnupiravir. This is because it is not known if molnupiravir gets into breast milk and will be passed to the baby. Tell your healthcare provider you are breastfeeding BEFORE taking this medicine.

Tell your healthcare provider about all the medicines you take

There are some medicines that may not mix with molnupiravir and, when taken together, may cause serious side effects. Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking, or have recently taken, any other medicines. This includes prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins and herbal supplements.

Do not start taking a new medicine without telling your healthcare provider. Your healthcare provider can tell you if it is safe to take molnupiravir with other medicines.

Possible side effects

As molnupiravir is a new medicine, it is possible that we do not know all of the side effects yet. However, many people in clinical trials have been treated with molnupiravir for COVID-19.

Common side effects

These are usually mild and go away with time or when the medicine is stopped. Tell your doctor if these side effects cause you problems or don’t go away:

  • diarrhoea (runny poo)
  • nausea (feeling sick)
  • dizziness.

Rare, serious side effects

Contact your healthcare team or Healthline on 0800 611 116 immediately if you notice these side effects and tell them you are taking molnupiravir.

  • Signs of an allergic reaction such as skin rash, puffiness or swelling of the eyelids or around the eyes, face, lips, or tongue, chest tightness and trouble breathing.

For more information on side effects, see the Medsafe consumer information leaflet below.

Did you know that you can report a medicine side effect to the Centre for Adverse Reactions Monitoring (CARM)? Report a side effect to a product.

Learn more

Molnupiravir Patient Information NZ Formulary, NZ 
Lagevrio Consumer Medicine Information Medsafe, NZ

References

  1. Lagevrio datasheet Medsafe, NZ
Credits: Health Navigator Pharmacists. Reviewed By: Maya Patel, MPharm PGDipClinPharm, Auckland Last reviewed: 26 Apr 2022