Treatments Your Healthcare Provider Might Recommend if You Are Sick
Treatments used for COVID-19 should be prescribed by your 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.
Drugs Approved or Authorized for Use
- The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved one drug, remdesivir (Veklury), to treat COVID-19.
- The FDA can also issue emergency use authorizationsexternal icon (EUAs) to allow healthcare providers to use products that are not yet approved, or that are approved for other uses, to treat patients with COVID-19 if certain legal requirements are met.
- The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has developed and regularly updates Treatment Guidelinesexternal icon to help guide healthcare providers caring for patients with COVID-19, including when clinicians might consider using one of the products under an EUA.
Treatment Outside of the Hospital
Your healthcare provider might recommend the following to relieve symptoms and support your body’s natural defenses:
- Taking medications, like acetaminophen or ibuprofen, to reduce fever
- Drinking water or receiving intravenous fluids to stay hydrated
- Getting plenty of rest to help the body fight the virus
If you are more likely to get very sick from COVID-19
Your healthcare provider might recommend that you receive investigational treatment.
- For people at high risk of disease progression. The FDA has issued EUAs for a number of investigational monoclonal antibodies that can attach to parts of the virus. These antibodies could help the immune system recognize and respond more effectively to the virus. The NIH COVID-19 Treatment Guidelinesexternal icon provide information about these drugs and describe what is known about their effectiveness. If used, they should be administered as soon as possible after diagnosis and within 10 days of symptom onset. Your healthcare provider will decide whether these investigational treatments are appropriate to treat your illness.
Treatment in the Hospital
- Slowing the virus. Antiviral medications reduce the ability of the virus to multiply and spread through the body.
- Reducing an overactive immune response. In patients with severe COVID-19, the body’s immune system may overreact to the threat of the virus, worsening the disease. This can cause damage to the body’s organs and tissues. Some treatments can help reduce this overactive immune response.
- Treating complications. COVID-19 can damage the heart, blood vessels, kidneys, brain, skin, eyes, and gastrointestinal organs. It also can cause other complications. Depending on the complications, additional treatments might be used for severely ill hospitalized patients, such as blood thinners to prevent or treat blood clots.
- Supporting the body’s immune function. Plasma from patients who have recovered from COVID-19—called convalescent plasma—can contain antibodies to the virus. This could help the immune system recognize and respond more effectively to the virus, but currently the NIH COVID-19 Treatment Guidelinesexternal icon find there is not enough evidence to recommend these treatments.