Skip to main content

Molnupiravir (Monograph)

Brand name: Lagevrio
Drug class: Nucleosides and Nucleotides
Chemical name: (2R,3S,4R,5R)-3,4-Dihydroxy-5-[(4Z)-4-(hydroxyimino)-2-oxo-3,4-dihydropyrimidin-1(2H)-yl]oxolan-2-yl}methyl 2-methylpropanoate
Molecular formula: C13H19N3O7

Medically reviewed by Drugs.com on Feb 25, 2023. Written by ASHP.

Warning

The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, Inc. represents that the information provided in the accompanying monograph was formulated with a reasonable standard of care, and in conformity with professional standards in the field. Readers are cautioned that molnupiravir is not an approved treatment for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by SARS-CoV-2, but rather, is being investigated for and is currently available under an FDA emergency use authorization (EUA) for the treatment of mild to moderate COVID-19 in certain nonhospitalized patients. The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, Inc. makes no representations or warranties, express or implied, including, but not limited to, any implied warranty of merchantability and/or fitness for a particular purpose, with respect to the information contained in the accompanying monograph, and specifically disclaims all such warranties. Readers of this information are advised that ASHP is not responsible for the continued currency of the information, for any errors or omissions, and/or for any consequences arising from the use of the information contained in the monograph in any and all practice settings. Readers are advised that decisions regarding drug therapy are complex medical decisions requiring the independent, informed decision of an appropriate health care professional, and that the information contained in the monograph is provided for informational purposes only. The entire monograph for a drug should be reviewed for a thorough understanding of the drug's actions, uses and side effects. The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, Inc. does not endorse or recommend the use of any drug. The information contained in the monograph is not a substitute for medical care.

Introduction

Antiviral; prodrug of N4-hydroxycytidine (NHC), a cytidine nucleoside analog that has antiviral activity against SARS-CoV-2.

Uses for Molnupiravir

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

Molnupiravir is available under an emergency use authorization (EUA) for the treatment of mild to moderate COVID-19 in adults with a current diagnosis of mild-to-moderate COVID-19 and who are at high risk for progression to severe COVID-19, including hospitalization or death.

Consult molnupiravir EUA letter of authorization, EUA fact sheet for healthcare providers, and EUA fact sheet for patients and caregivers for additional information.

Molnupiravir is not authorized under the EUA for use in pediatric patients (younger than 18 years of age), patients requiring hospitalization due to COVID-19, for use as preexposure or postexposure prophylaxis, or for use >5 consecutive days.

Preferred therapies now include ritonavir-boosted nirmatrelvir or remdesivir, in order of preference.

If neither preferred therapies are available, treatment options include molnupiravir.

For the treatment of nonhospitalized patients (ambulatory patients) with mild to moderate COVID-19 at high risk of progression to severe COVID-19, IDSA suggests the use of molnupiravir within 5 days of symptom onset over no molnupiravir treatment in patients with no other treatment options. Consider patient-specific factors when selecting an appropriate treatment for COVID-19 in nonhospitalized outpatients including availability of treatment options, feasibility of parenteral medication administration, potential for drug-drug interactions, and regional prevalence of variants.

Based on clinical trial data to date, use of molnupiravir early in the disease process when viral loads are high confers maximum benefit; therefore, rapid diagnosis and treatment early in the disease course are critical.

The use of molnupiravir presents additional considerations and potential concerns regarding viral mutagenesis in immunocompromised individuals and safety in individuals of reproductive potential, for which more data are needed to quantify such effects.

Molnupiravir Dosage and Administration

General

Pretreatment Screening

Patient Monitoring

Dispensing and Administration Precautions

Other General Considerations

Administration

Oral Administration

Administer orally without regard to food.

Swallow capsules whole; do not open, break, or crush.

If a dose of molnupiravir is missed within 10 hours of the time it is usually taken, take the prescribed dose as soon as it is remembered. If a dose is missed by >10 hours, take the prescribed dose at the next scheduled time; do not administer an additional dose to replace the missed dose.

Dosage

Adults

Treatment of Mild to Moderate COVID-19 in Nonhospitalized Patients
Oral

EUA permits use of 800 mg of molnupiravir orally every 12 hours for 5 days. Complete full 5-day treatment course. Safety and efficacy of administration beyond 5 consecutive days not established.

Administer molnupiravir as soon as possible after a diagnosis of COVID-19 is made and within 5 days of symptom onset.

If hospitalization occurs after molnupiravir therapy, treatment course may be continued per the clinician's discretion.

Special Populations

Hepatic Impairment

No dosage adjustment recommended.

Renal Impairment

No dosage adjustment recommended.

Geriatric Patients

No dosage adjustment recommended.

Cautions for Molnupiravir

Contraindications

Warnings/Precautions

Fetal/Neonatal Morbidity and Mortality

No available data on use of molnupiravir in pregnant women; however, based on animal findings (e.g., abortion, decreased fetal weight, decreased fetal growth, teratogenicity), may cause fetal harm.

Estimated background risk of major birth defects and miscarriage in the indicated population unknown. COVID-19 in pregnancy is associated with adverse maternal and fetal outcomes, including preeclampsia, eclampsia, preterm birth, premature rupture of membranes, venous thromboembolic disease, and fetal death.

Avoid pregnancy during molnupiravir therapy. Verify pregnancy status prior to initiation of therapy in females of reproductive potential; advise such females to use effective contraceptive methods while receiving molnupiravir therapy and for 4 days after the last dose. In addition, sexually active males with partners of reproductive potential should use effective contraceptive methods while receiving molnupiravir and for ≥3 months after the last dose.

Use during pregnancy only if potential benefit outweighs potential risk for the woman and fetus. If the drug is used in a pregnant female, apprise patient of the potential hazard to the fetus.

Clinicians must document that a pregnant individual was informed of the manufacturer's pregnancy surveillance program at 1-877-888-4231 or via the manufacturer’s website ([Web]). Pregnant females or females who become pregnant while receiving molnupiravir are encouraged to enroll in the manufacturer's pregnancy surveillance program.

Hypersensitivity Including Anaphylaxis

Hypersensitivity reactions, including anaphylaxis, have been reported with molnupiravir. Immediately discontinue treatment for signs and symptoms of a clinically significant hypersensitivity reaction or anaphylaxis and initiate appropriate treatments and/or supportive care.

Bone and Cartilage Toxicity

Molnupiravir is not authorized for use in pediatric patients <18 years of age; possible effect on bone and cartilage growth.

In animals, transformation of growth cartilage into new bone observed in femur and tibia.

EUA Requirements for Patient Monitoring and Mandatory FDA MedWatch Reporting

Safety and efficacy of molnupiravir not established. FDA EUA that permits use of molnupiravir for the treatment of mild to moderate COVID-19 in adults requires that the drug be administered using the dosages recommended in the EUA.

Only limited data available to date regarding adverse effects associated with use of molnupiravir. Serious and unexpected adverse events may occur that have not been previously reported with the drug.

Completion of FDA MedWatch forms to report all medication errors and all serious adverse events potentially related to molnupiravir is mandatory. The EUA Fact Sheet for Healthcare Providers that is provided with the drug and available at the manufacturer’s website should be consulted for requirements and instructions regarding reporting of adverse reactions and medication errors.

Specific Populations

Pregnancy

May cause fetal harm based on animal findings.

Encourage pregnant females or females who become pregnant while receiving molnupiravir to enroll in the manufacturer's pregnancy surveillance program. Patients or their clinicians should call 1-877-888-4231 to enroll.

Lactation

Not known whether molnupiravir or its metabolites are distributed into human milk; however, N4-hydroxycytidine (NHC) was detected in plasma of nursing pups when molnupiravir was administered to lactating rats. The effects of the drug on the breast-fed infant or on the production of milk are unknown.

Because of the potential for adverse reactions to molnupiravir in breast-fed infants, advise females not to breast-feed while receiving the drug and for 4 days after the final dose. Lactating females may consider pumping and discarding breast milk during molnupiravir therapy and for 4 days after the final dose.

Females and Males of Reproductive Potential

Avoid pregnancy during molnupiravir therapy. Verify pregnancy status prior to initiation of therapy in females of reproductive potential; advise such females to use effective contraceptive methods while receiving molnupiravir therapy and for 4 days after the last dose.

Sexually active males with partners of reproductive potential should use effective contraceptive methods while receiving molnupiravir and for ≥3 months after the last dose. The risk beyond 3 months after the last dose of molnupiravir is unknown.

In animal reproductive studies, no effects on fertility, mating performance, or early embryonic development observed.

Pediatric Use

Not authorized for use in pediatric patients <18 years of age.

Safety and efficacy not established in pediatric patients.

In a repeat-dose toxicity study in rats, impaired transformation of growth cartilage into new bone observed in the femur and tibia.

Geriatric Use

No difference in safety and tolerability observed between ambulatory geriatric patients and younger adults receiving molnupiravir for the treatment of COVID-19.

Hepatic Impairment

Effect of hepatic impairment on the pharmacokinetics of molnupiravir unknown; however, hepatic impairment unlikely to affect NHC exposure.

Renal Impairment

Mild or moderate renal impairment did not have a meaningful impact on pharmacokinetics of NHC. Pharmacokinetic profile of NHC not evaluated in patients with eGFR <30 mL/min per 1.73m2 or in those requiring dialysis; however, severe renal impairment and end-stage renal disease (ESRD) not expected to have a significant effect on NHC exposure.

Common Adverse Effects

Most common adverse reactions occurring in ≥1% of patients include diarrhea, nausea, and dizziness. Post-authorization experience has identified additional adverse effects, including erythema, rash, urticaria, and hypersensitivity reactions through voluntary reporting.

Drug Interactions

Drug-drug interaction trials not conducted.

In vitro, molnupiravir and its active nucleoside analog (N4-hydroxycytidine [NHC]) are not substrates of CYP isoenzymes or P-glycoprotein (P-gp) and BCRP transporters.

In vitro, molnupiravir and NHC are not inhibitors of CYP isoenzymes 1A2, 2B6, 2C8, 2C9, 2C19, 2D6, and 3A4 or inhibitors of OATP1B1, OATP1B3, OCT1, OCT2, OAT1, OAT3, MATE1, MATE2K, MRP2, MDR1 and BCRP or inducers of CYP isoenzymes 1A2, 2B6, and 3A4.

Molnupiravir Pharmacokinetics

Absorption

Bioavailability

Peak plasma concentrations and AUC of molnupiravir increase in a dose-proportional manner without accumulation of serum concentrations.

Following twice-daily administration of 300, 600, or 800 mg of molnupiravir, the prodrug is generally not detectable, or detected at low concentrations, only at 30 minutes and 1 hour post-dose. Following twice-daily administration of 300, 600, or 800 mg of molnupiravir, plasma concentrations of the active nucleoside analog N4-hydroxycytidine (NHC) are detectable; however, no accumulation is observed after 5 days of administration.

Peak plasma concentrations of NHC are achieved in a median of 1–1.75 hours following administration of molnupiravir.

Food

Administration in a fed state decreased the rate of absorption, with a 36% reduction in mean Cmax, but did not affect the extent of absorption compared with the fasted state, as demonstrated by the AUC.

Distribution

Extent

Apparent volume of distribution is 142 L.

Not known whether molnupiravir is distributed into human or animal milk.

Plasma Protein Binding

Molnupiravir appears not to bind significantly to plasma proteins.

Elimination

Metabolism

Not metabolized by CYP isoenzymes. Hydrolyzed to NHC (active nucleoside analog). NHC is eliminated by metabolism to uridine and/or cytidine through the same pathways involved in endogenous pyrimidine metabolism.

Elimination Route

Dialysis is not expected to remove NHC.

Half-life

The half-life of NHC is 3.3 hours.

Special Populations

The effects of sex, race, body weight, or disease severity on the pharmacokinetics of molnupiravir are unknown; hepatic or renal clearance is not expected to be a major route of NHC elimination.

Stability

Storage

Oral

Capsules

20–25ºC (excursions permitted between 15–30ºC).

Actions

Advice to Patients

Additional Information

The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, Inc. represents that the information provided in the accompanying monograph was formulated with a reasonable standard of care, and in conformity with professional standards in the field. Readers are advised that decisions regarding use of drugs are complex medical decisions requiring the independent, informed decision of an appropriate health care professional, and that the information contained in the monograph is provided for informational purposes only. The manufacturer’s labeling should be consulted for more detailed information. The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, Inc. does not endorse or recommend the use of any drug. The information contained in the monograph is not a substitute for medical care.

Preparations

Excipients in commercially available drug preparations may have clinically important effects in some individuals; consult specific product labeling for details.

Please refer to the ASHP Drug Shortages Resource Center for information on shortages of one or more of these preparations.

Molnupiravir is not commercially available. FDA issued an emergency use authorization (EUA) for molnupiravir that allows use of the drug for the treatment of mild to moderate COVID-19 in certain nonhospitalized adults who are at high risk of progression to severe COVID-19, including hospitalization or death. The manufacturer (Merck) should be contacted for information on how to obtain molnupiravir for use under the EUA.

Molnupiravir

Routes

Dosage Forms

Strengths

Brand Names

Manufacturer

Oral

Capsules

200 mg

Lagevrio

Merck

AHFS DI Essentials™. © Copyright 2024, Selected Revisions February 25, 2023. American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, Inc., 4500 East-West Highway, Suite 900, Bethesda, Maryland 20814.

Reload page with references included