At-Home (OTC) Treatment
Your healthcare provider might recommend over-the-counter medications, like acetaminophen or ibuprofen, to help relieve symptoms during a COVID-19 infection. Drinking water to stay hydrated and getting plenty of rest can support the body’s natural defenses and help the body fight the virus.
At-Home Prescription Treatment
Paxlovid and molnupiravir are available for patients by prescription only. Prescriptions can be obtained from your healthcare provider or through the Test to Treat program.
You may be able to get a prescription for Paxlovid from a pharmacist without seeing a healthcare provider. You will need to give the pharmacist certain health records and a medication list. Call ahead to make sure your local pharmacy provides this service.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for Pfizer’s Paxlovid for the treatment of mild-to-moderate COVID-19 in people who are 12 years and older, weigh at least 40 kilograms (kg), have tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, and are at high risk for progression to severe COVID-19, including hospitalization or death. The treatment has received FDA approval for use in eligible adults. Paxlovid reduced the risk of hospitalization or death among patients with COVID-19 by 88% compared to placebo.
Paxlovid is an antiviral drug that works by blocking an enzyme necessary for the replication of the virus. Paxlovid is administered as three tablets (two tablets of nirmatrelvir and one tablet of ritonavir) taken together orally twice daily for five days, for a total of 30 tablets. Paxlovid is available by prescription only and should be initiated as soon as possible after diagnosis of COVID-19 and within five days of symptom onset.
Paxlovid is not recommended for people with certain medical conditions and may interact with other prescribed medications. More information about Paxlovid can be found in the FDA fact sheet for patients, parents and caregivers.
FDA issued EUA for Merck’s molnupiravir (brand name Lagevrio) for the treatment of mild-to-moderate COVID-19 in adults 18 and older who have tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, are at high risk for progression to severe COVID-19, including hospitalization or death, and for whom alternative COVID-19 treatment options authorized by the FDA are not accessible or clinically appropriate. Molnupiravir reduced the risk of hospitalization or death among patients with COVID-19 by 30% compared to placebo.
Molnupiravir is an antiviral drug that works by manipulating the enzyme responsible for viral replication. Molnupiravir tricks these enzymes into entering errors in the virus’s genetic code. These errors build up over time until the virus is no longer capable of surviving.
Molnupiravir is not recommended for use during pregnancy as it may cause fetal harm when administered to pregnant individuals. People of childbearing potential are advised to use a reliable method of birth control correctly and consistently during treatment with molnupiravir and for four days after the final dose. People of reproductive potential who are sexually active with people of childbearing potential are advised to use a reliable method of birth control correctly and consistently during treatment with molnupiravir and for at least three months after the final dose.
Molnupiravir is administered as four 200 milligram capsules taken orally every 12 hours for five days, for a total of 40 capsules. Molnupiravir is available by prescription only and should be initiated as soon as possible after diagnosis of COVID-19 and within five days of symptom onset. More information about Molnupiravir can be found in the FDA fact sheet for patients and caregivers.
Treatment in a Medical Setting
FDA has approved remdesivir (Veklury) for the treatment of COVID-19 in 28 days of age and older weighing at least 3 kilograms (about 7 pounds), have a positive SARS-CoV-2 viral testing result, and are:
- Hospitalized; OR
- Not hospitalized and have mild-to-moderate COVID-19 and are at high risk for progression to severe COVID-19, including hospitalization or death.
Remdesivir is an antiviral medication that is given by injection into a vein. The medication works by binding to the enzymes that are necessary for viral replication and preventing them from doing their job. Remdesivir is available by prescription only.
Monoclonal Antibody (mAb) Therapies
Monoclonal antibody (mAb) therapies are no longer authorized due to the high frequency of the Omicron variant. Omicron and its subvariants are resistant to mAbs. Because of this, mAbs are not expected to be effective treatments for COVID-19.
Monoclonal antibodies are laboratory-made proteins that mimic the immune system’s ability to fight off harmful pathogens such as viruses, like SARS-CoV-2. And like other viruses, SARS-CoV-2 can mutate over time, resulting in certain products not working against certain variants. This is the case with the five mAb therapies not authorized in any U.S. region: REGEN-COV (casirivimab and imdevimab), bamlanivimab and etesevimab, bebtelovimab, Sotrovimab and Evusheld.
Antiviral treatments - Paxlovid, remdesivir (Veklury) and molnupiravir (Lagevrio) - are expected to work against currently circulating variants.
Ask a doctor
Treatments used for COVID-19 should be discussed with a healthcare provider. People have been seriously harmed and even died after taking products not approved for COVID-19, even products approved or prescribed for other uses.
Always check that your information is from a trusted source. If you have questions about any medication, contact the FDA’s Division of Drug Information at 301-796-3400 or [email protected].