Lagevrio vs the COVID-19 vaccine

A small clear bottle filled with clear liquid and labelled "COVID-19 vaccine" surrounded by assorted pills and tablets on a black surface


Lagevrio (Molnupiravir) is the new kid on the block when it comes to COVID-19 treatments and naturally, people want to compare it to the other medicines, including the vaccine.


With all of the information floating around on the internet about what does and doesn’t make a difference when you’ve caught Coronavirus, we thought we should set things straight by taking a look at these medications and how they relate to each other.


Let’s start by working out how Lagevrio works alongside the UK’s COVID-19 vaccines.


Will Lagevrio replace the Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines?


No, Lagevrio isn’t designed to replace Pfizer, AstraZeneca or any other COVID-19 vaccines.


The Molnupiravir in Lagervio is a treatment, not a preventative medicine, so it can only be taken by those who have already caught COVID-19 and are in the early stages of the illness.


If you’re going to get your vaccine or are due to have your COVID booster jab you should absolutely go and get it and not let this new medication put you off.


The vaccines will help to protect you from the effects of COVID-19 in their own way, so if you do catch the virus you’ll be less likely to suffer from a severe case of it, at which point Lagevrio could help your immune system even further.



What makes Molnupiravir different to the COVID-19 vaccine?


The difference between Lagevrio and the COVID-19 vaccines is all in how they work, Molnupiravir, the active ingredient in Lagevrio, is an antiviral medication that can be given to those who are in the early stages of COVID-19 to help them fight off the virus.


It keeps the virus from multiplying, giving your immune system the edge as it fights it off from the inside, reducing the chances of hospitalisation and even death by 50%.


On the other hand, the Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines work by giving your body the information it needs to fight off COVID-19, essentially handing your immune system a blueprint to help it fight back and teaching the cells how to use it.


So in conclusion, the vaccines train your body to fight back if you catch COVID-19 and Molnpiravir is the cavalry that can jump in and help your immune system combat the virus when you’ve been infected.


They’re both very effective by themselves, but if you use both together you’re really giving your immune system the upper hand.


a healthcare worker wearing blue latex gloves administering a vaccination into the arm of a woman wearing a black sleeveless top


Will I need to take Lagevrio if I’ve already been vaccinated?


If you have been vaccinated and caught COVID-19 in future, you may be offered Lagevrio by your doctor or a member of your local healthcare team.


This is totally fine and you can absolutely take Lagevrio as a part of your treatment plan without having to worry about interactions.


However, you should make sure that your healthcare team are aware that you have been vaccinated when you tell them about any of your other regular medications — it will help to give them a better idea of your overall health and which treatments they can recommend for you.



Is Molnupiravir the same as Ivermectin?


Ivermectin has been rumoured to be used as a COVID-19 treatment, but we have to tell you that it absolutely should not be used for this purpose.


Ivermectin is an anti-parasitic medication, meaning it treats conditions like head lice and scabies by killing off the parasite living on your skin.


As COVID-19 is a virus and not a parasite, Ivermectin won’t have any effect on it and definitely won’t cure your illness.


Molnupiravir is an antiviral medication, so naturally, it’s a whole lot better equipped to deal with a virus like COVID-19, but wouldn’t do much if you brought home a nasty case of head lice.


These two medications are like chalk and cheese, so you shouldn’t bother trying to use one in place of the other, it just isn’t going to work.


A magnified COVID-19 cell



Is Molnupiravir related to Stromectol?


Stromectol is the brand name of Ivermectin, which means that it uses Ivermectin as its active ingredient.


Naturally, this means that Stromectol isn’t related to Molnupiravir and won’t make a dent in a case of COVID-19.


Again, these are two very different medications with very different purposes so using one to replace the other isn’t going to work out well for you.


Both of these medications can only be obtained with a prescription in the UK and can’t be bought over the counter, so luckily, you’re unlikely to be prescribed one of them for the wrong reason.


That being said, if you are prescribed one of these medications you should make sure that you only use them as directed by your prescriber and for the purpose they were intended — don’t try to take your treatment into your own hands, it can be very dangerous business.



Is Lagevrio the same as Ronapreve?


Ronapreve is the current medication used in hospitals to treat patients with COVID-19.


It’s given to patients whose immune system isn’t creating the antibodies needed to fight the virus off by itself, usually patients who are immunocompromised or are otherwise vulnerable.


Like Lagevrio, Ronapreve has also been approved by the MHRA for use in COVID patients, but it is specifically for use in those who are already hospitalised.


Ronapreve has to be given via injection or intravenously (through a drip), which is one of the reasons why it’s being used in a hospital setting.


Lagevrio, on the other hand, is available as capsules, which is why it is going to be used for patients who haven’t been admitted to hospital, with the aim of curing them without needing a hospital stay.


Ronapreve uses different active ingredients to Lagevrio and works differently in the body, combatting the virus by binding to COVID-19 cells and keeping them from gaining access to the healthy cells in your respiratory system.


Put simply, these are both effective medications for COVID-19, but Ronapreve is used for patients who are hospitalised, and Lagevrio is used for patients who aren’t.


Bottles of liquid labelled "COVID-19 Vaccine" and a row of needles for vaccinations


Well there we have it, a run-down of the medications that are being used to help combat COVID-19, and how they relate to Lagevrio.


Hopefully, we’ve cleared up some of the questions you have around the treatments available and debunked some of the misinformation out there about treatments like Ivermectin.


If you’re looking for more information about the COVID-19 virus, check out our range of guides on the subject and remember, keep yourself safe out there.


Laura Henderson - Medical Content Writer
James O'Loan - CEO & Superintendent Pharmacist
James O'Loan , CEO & Superintendent Pharmacist on 15 March 2023
© 2024 Chemist4U. Innox Trading Ltd, 35-37 Greenhey Place, Skelmersdale, Lancashire, WN8 9SA, GB. All rights reserved. Registered and regulated UK pharmacy with the GPhC (registered premises 9011784). Registered in England No. 07262043 | VAT Registration No. GB140138454