Antiviral medication prescriptions available online

Learn how antivirals can help treat viral infections with a consultation from one of our board-certified doctors online. Get a new prescription or refill an existing prescription for antiviral medications from a board-certified doctor online.*

Book an appointment

Reduce symptoms and prevent viral spread

Effective antivirals for influenza, COVID-19, and more

Telehealth solutions for antiviral prescriptions

*Prescriptions are provided at the doctor’s discretion. Learn more about our controlled substances policy and how you can save up to 80% with our prescription discount card.

About antivirals

Antiviral medications are designed to prevent and treat viral infections. They are often prescribed to help treat influenza, COVID-19, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), herpes simplex virus (HSV), and other viruses. There are many types of prescription antivirals.



What antivirals treat


Antiviral medicines are designed to fight off harmful viruses and reduce the severity of symptoms. Antivirals also lower the risk of spreading a viral infection to others. They are ineffective against bacterial infections.

Viruses commonly treated with antiviral therapy include flu viruses such as influenza A or B, H1N1 swine flu, or Avian flu, as well as herpes, HIV, and COVID-19.

The most common condition treated with antivirals is influenza, also known as the flu. Antivirals do not entirely eliminate flu symptoms, but they can reduce the severity of symptoms. People who are mildly ill or have little risk factors for developing complications usually do not need to take an antiviral agent.

The CDC recommends prompt treatment for people who have the flu or suspected flu. Those with conditions such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease, and kidney disease are at higher risk of developing flu complications. Children and adults can take influenza antiviral drugs.

Covid medications, such as Paxlovid, are used to treat patients at high risk of developing severe symptoms or complications from COVID-19. Paxlovid is administered twice daily for five days as soon as possible after a COVID-19 diagnosis. This antiviral can help treat mild to moderate cases of COVID-19.

Herpes antivirals and HIV antivirals slow the replication and growth of these viruses in the body. Although they will not cure these conditions, these antivirals can reduce symptoms and prevent the diseases from progressing further.

Types of antivirals available online

Some of the main types of antiviral therapies include reverse transcriptase inhibitors, nucleoside analogs, protease inhibitors, entry inhibitors, neuraminidase inhibitors, and interferons.

  • Reverse transcriptase inhibitors

    These drugs target the enzyme reverse transcriptase, which retroviruses like HIV use to convert viral RNA into DNA. There are two main reverse transcriptase inhibitors: nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs) and non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NNRTIs).

    These drugs block the HIV virus from replicating itself, preventing it from spreading. NRTIs and NNRTIs are sometimes taken with other medications used to treat HIV.

    Examples of reverse transcriptase inhibitors include:

  • Nucleoside and nucleotide analogs

    These drugs mimic the building blocks of DNA or RNA, which are essential for viral replication. When incorporated into the viral genetic material, they can disrupt the replication process. Examples include:

  • Protease inhibitors

    Protease inhibitors inhibit the activity of viral proteases, enzymes necessary for producing functional viral proteins. By blocking protease activity, the growth of new viral particles is prevented. Protease inhibitors are commonly used in the treatment of HIV.

    Examples of these drugs include:

  • Entry inhibitors

    These medications block the entry of the virus into host cells by targeting viral proteins or receptors on the cell surface. Enfuvirtide, for example, a type of entry inhibitor called a fusion inhibitor, prevents HIV from fusing with host cell membranes.

  • Neuraminidase inhibitors

    Neuraminidase inhibitors are most often used to treat influenza A or B. These drugs block the influenza virus from copying itself in the body, reducing the duration of time that symptoms are felt.

    These antivirals are primarily used to treat influenza viruses by blocking the action of the neuraminidase enzyme, which allows the virus to be released from infected cells. Examples include:

  • Interferons

    Interferons are naturally occurring proteins released by the immune system in response to viral infections. Synthetic versions of interferons can be used as antiviral medications to enhance the immune response and inhibit viral replication. They are often used to treat hepatitis B and C, as well as certain forms of cancer that are associated with viral infections.

How antivirals work

Antiviral medications work by preventing a virus from duplicating or attaching to a host cell. Antivirals work against viruses by suppressing their ability to multiply and infect your cells. These medications work by inhibiting the cellular interactions and functions that the virus needs to make copies of itself.

The benefits of antiviral treatment include reducing symptoms of viral infections as well as reducing the risk of spreading the virus.

  • Side effects of antivirals

    When taken as prescribed, antivirals are generally well tolerated. However, they can still cause some side effects.

    The more common side effects of antivirals include:


    In rare cases, antivirals may cause serious side effects. These can include:

    • Rash, hives, itching

    • Anemia

    • Increased liver enzymes

    • Hoarseness, wheezing, tightness in the chest

  • Antiviral risks

    Antivirals are generally safe, but there are some risks if you have certain medical conditions or take certain medications.

    Before you take a prescribed antiviral, be sure to tell your doctor about any of the following conditions or issues:

    • Other prescription medications

    • Over-the-counter (OTC) medications, supplements, and vitamins

    • HIV

    • Hormone-based birth control

  • Antiviral drug interactions

    When you begin a new medication, make sure to tell your doctor about any other medications, supplements, or herbs you’re taking. Some medications that might interact with an antiviral include:

    • Dichlorphenamide

    • Taurusodiol

    • Fexinidazole

    • Live influenza vaccine

    • Clopidogrel

    • Nitisinone

    • Leflunomide

Antiviral FAQs

  • What is the use of antiviral drugs?

    Antivirals are used to treat and reduce the symptoms of viral infections, such as HIV, herpes, COVID-19, and influenza. Antiviral drugs are not sold over the counter.

  • How long does it take for antivirals to work?

    Most antivirals begin to work within one to six hours after taking it. Studies show that the flu antiviral drugs work best for treatment when they are started within two days of getting sick. If your symptoms or health problems do not get better or if they become worse, call your doctor.

  • How should I take antivirals? 

    If you are taking capsules, store at room temperature in a dry place. Do not store in a bathroom. If you are taking a liquid suspension, store liquid in a refrigerator. Do not freeze. Keep your antivirals in a safe place. Keep all drugs out of reach of children and pets. Take each dose as scheduled. Take a missed dose as soon as you think about it. If it is less than 2 hours until your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your normal time. Do not take 2 doses at the same time or extra doses.

  • Who shouldn’t take antivirals?

    If you are allergic to antivirals or other drugs, substances, or foods, tell your doctor. Let your doctor know if you have kidney disease, as some antivirals can make kidney function worse. If you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding, let your doctor know before taking antivirals. Some antivirals can affect your unborn baby and can transfer into your breast milk. Antivirals should not be taken if you have recently received vaccinations such as the COVID-19 or influenza vaccines.

  • What should I avoid with antivirals?

    You should avoid drinking alcohol while taking antivirals. Alcohol can reduce the effectiveness of certain medications as well as increase the risk of side effects, such as dizziness. Certain over-the-counter medications can affect antivirals as well. Make sure to tell your doctor about all prescription medications or supplements you take.

  • Can I get antiviral meds over the counter?

    Antiviral medications are available only by prescription, not over the counter. Only a doctor can diagnose the underlying cause of your illness (bacterial vs. viral infection) and determine if an antiviral medication is the right treatment for you. Using antivirals for bacterial infections or the wrong type of virus will not treat your virus and can delay getting the right treatment.

    Antiviral medications can also interact with other medications you might be taking. Taking the wrong antiviral medication or dose can be ineffective or even harmful. A doctor will also monitor your symptoms and any potential side effects.

    Schedule a telemedicine appointment doctor to get the right diagnosis and treatment plan.

3 simple steps to getting antiviral medications online

Step 1

Book an appointment to discuss antivirals.

Book a same-day appointment from anywhere.

Step 2

Talk to your doctor online about antivirals.

See a doctor on your smartphone or computer.

Step 3

Pick up your antiviral treatment.

We can send prescriptions to any local pharmacy.

How to talk to your doctor about antiviral medications: helpful questions to ask

Whether you choose one of our doctors or see a local provider, it’s important to feel comfortable that you understand the scope of your virus treatment plan.  Here are some questions that you and your doctor may find helpful to discuss about any antiviral medications that may be prescribed: 

  • Should I take my antiviral medications with food?

  • What time of the day should I take my prescription?

  • What should I do if I miss a dose?

  • Are there any food, drinks or supplements I should avoid?

  • Are there any activities I should avoid during my antiviral treatment plan?

  • When can I expect to start feeling better?

  • What should I do if my symptoms don’t go away with antiviral medication?

  • Will this medication help to prevent potential future outbreaks?

Antiviral medication pricing details

How pricing works

To get antivirals online, join our monthly membership and get discounted visits.

Paying with insurance

Membership

$16.99/month

First month free

Visits

Copay

30 days of free membership

  • Same-day appointments 7 days a week

  • Unlimited messages with your Care Team

  • Prescription discount card to save up to 80%

  • Exclusive discounts on lab tests

  • Free memberships for your family

  • Cancel anytime

Visit price with insurance

Often the same as an office visit. Most patients with in-network insurance pay $30 or less!

  • We accept these insurance plans and many more:

    • Humana
    • Aetna
    • Cigna

Paying without insurance

Membership

$16.99/month

First month free

Visits

$129

30 days of free membership

  • Same-day appointments 7 days a week

  • Unlimited messages with your Care Team

  • Prescription discount card to save up to 80%

  • Exclusive discounts on lab tests

  • Free memberships for your family

  • Cancel anytime

Visit price without insurance

Initial visits are $129.

Book an appointment

If we're unable to treat you, we'll provide a full refund.

Sources:

PlushCare is dedicated to providing you with accurate and trustworthy health information.

PlushCare content is reviewed by MDs, PhDs, NPs, nutritionists, and other healthcare professionals. Learn more about our editorial standards and meet the medical team. The PlushCare site or any linked materials are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice, nor is the information a substitute for professional medical expertise or treatment.