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COVID-19 Treatments and Medications

Written by Ada’s Medical Knowledge Team

Updated on


  • COVID-19 treatment depends on your risk profile and severity of symptoms.
  • Antiviral medication is available for those who are at risk of serious illness.
  • Various home remedies for COVID-19 exist for those who experience mild to moderate symptoms. 
  • Persisting symptoms may be a sign of long COVID.

COVID-19 treatments have been studied thoroughly over the past few years, leading to the approval of several COVID-19 medications which can be used at home or in hospitals. COVID-19 treatment usually entails the use of antiviral medication for people who are at risk of serious illness. Hospitals focus primarily on fighting inflammation, supplementing oxygen, and preventing blood clots and organ failure. 

Most people aren’t at risk for severe illness and only need home remedies for COVID-19. These home remedies focus on relieving the symptoms that the virus causes while your immune system is fighting off the infection.  Btu, in some cases, will self-limit without the need for any intervention.

This article will elaborate on COVID treatments for mild, moderate, and severe cases at home and in the hospital. Apart from that, we’ll also run you through what to do if your symptoms persist.

Which COVID-19 treatments exist?

The COVID-19 treatment that applies to you mainly depends on the severity of your symptoms and the present risk factors. Most people infected with COVID-19 will experience mild to moderate symptoms and can be treated with home remedies for COVID-19. 

For those at risk of developing severe symptoms that may lead to hospitalization, COVID medications are available, and your doctor can prescribe them. 

To see whether or not you qualify, your doctor will assess the following risk factors: 1 2 3 4 5 6

These risk factors can determine how high the chances are of you getting seriously ill from COVID-19. To meet all the requirements to receive COVID-19 treatment without being admitted to the hospital, you need to match all of the following criteria: 7

If your symptoms are too severe, you may also receive COVID-19 treatment in a hospital, which may differ from the therapeutics for COVID-19 your doctor may prescribe. 

Which COVID-19 medications can be prescribed?

If you match the criteria for treatment with medicine for COVID-19, then your physician can prescribe you antiviral medications such as: 8 9

  • nirmatrelvir combined with ritonavir, which is currently on sale as Paxlovid
  • molnupiravir, also known as Lagevrio. 

Both options come as capsules or tablets that you need to swallow. Besides these COVID-19 pills, your doctor could also prescribe you with remdesivir, which is being sold as Veklury. This is an antiviral that is administered by using an IV infusion. This means that the medication is delivered directly into the bloodstream.

Your doctor will inform you on which option is the best medicine for COVID-19 in your case based on your medical history and the days you’ve been experiencing symptoms. All antiviral medications decrease the amount of virus present in the body, which helps the immune system overcome the viral infection and ultimately prevents serious symptoms. 

COVID-19 antibody treatment via infusion, such as sotrovimab, also known as Xevudy, is not recommended anymore as it’s unlikely to be active against most of the current SARS-CoV-2 variants circulating. 10

With these COVID therapeutics, you should remember that treatment should be started immediately after testing positive, even if you are only experiencing mild symptoms at the time. By getting treatment in the early stage of COVID-19, you can prevent the progression of mild symptoms into severe ones and make sure that treatment is effective. 11

Molnupiravir and nirmatrelvir combined with ritonavir have both been authorized by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for emergency use for COVID-19. The FDA has approved Remdesivir. 12

As with all medications, you may experience some side effects. They’re usually mild and short-term, and only some get them. You’re advised to report any side effects you have to your healthcare provider if you’re worried about your health. Some of the side effects which have been reported are: 14 15 16 17

  • Taste disturbances, diarrhea, and vomiting up to 34 days after the last dose (nirmatrelvir and ritonavir)
  • Diarrhea, nausea, dizziness, and headache up to 14 days after the last dose (molnupiravir)
  • Nausea and raised blood liver enzymes (remdesivir) 18

Available options for treating COVID-19

Covid Treatments

Who can take it?

When should you start?

Treatment length

Paxlovid (nirmatrelvir + ritonavir)

Adults and Children from 12 y/o with mild to moderate COVID-19 who are at high risk of progressing to severe COVID-19.

Within 5 days of developing symptoms.

5 days

Lagevrio (molnupiravir)

Only for adults with mild to moderate COVID-19 who are at high risk of progressing to severe COVID-19.

Within 5 days of developing symptoms.

5 days

Veklury (remdesivir)

Adults and children with mild to moderate COVID-19 who are at high risk of progressing to severe COVID-19, also used with severe cases in the hospital.

Within 7 days of developing symptoms.

3 days

Which COVID-19 treatments are available for severe cases in the hospital?

COVID-19 treatments in the hospital depend on how severe your symptoms are. The distinction in severity is made by assessing how difficult it’s for you to breathe. Severe cases of COVID-19 can progress from flu-like symptoms to pneumonia with breathing difficulty. They may eventually progress to widespread infection and lead to fatal complications such as organ failure, respiratory failure, and a drastic fall in blood pressure due to the infection, otherwise known as a septic shock. 19 20

Throughout the different stages of COVID-19, pneumonia treatment may entail supplementing oxygen and administering intravenous fluids to avoid dehydration. Oxygen can be increased using a high-flow device, which provides you with oxygen in a non-invasive way. If this isn’t sufficient, your doctor may suggest mechanical ventilation, an invasive treatment method with a mechanical ventilator that helps move air into and out of the lungs. 

Depending on what stage you are in, your doctor may prescribe you certain medications. The most used ones are: 21 22

  • Remdesivir, which is an antiviral medication that targets a range of viruses, including the coronavirus
  • Dexamethasone, which is a corticosteroid that fights inflammation
  • Baricitinib or tocilizumab, which decreases inflammation in the body.

Home remedies for COVID-19

Home remedies for COVID-19 can help you treat your symptoms to let you find relief. In most cases, at-home COVID-19 treatment is sufficient, as the immune system will overcome the infection on its own, leaving most people to feel better after a few weeks. While you’re infected or recovering from an infection with the coronavirus, it’s important to avoid contact with others and to contact your doctor by telephone if you have doubts about your medication. 

You can treat your COVID-19 symptoms at home in various ways. You can opt for painkillers and anti-inflammatory drugs such as: 23

  • Paracetamol
  • Ibuprofen
  • Naproxen

If your COVID-19 infection is accompanied by fever, it’s best to treat it by: 24

  • Resting as much as possible
  • Making sure that you drink enough water
  • Taking paracetamol or ibuprofen to help lower your temperature

For many people, coughing is one of the symptoms of COVID-19. You can try reducing your cough by: 25

  • Sitting upright instead of lying on your back
  • Contacting your healthcare provider about possible cough medication or treatment 

For most people, these home remedies for COVID-19 will help you find relief while your immune system is overcoming the infection. It’s, however, essential to monitor your symptoms and to contact your doctor if: 26

  • You’re gradually feeling worse
  • You have difficulty breathing when standing upright
  • You feel very weak, and basic tasks feel too difficult
  • You’re shaking or shivering
  • You still feel unwell after a month

What about COVID treatments for symptoms that persist?

If your symptoms persist for weeks or months after your initial infection with the coronavirus, you may be suffering from long COVID. The time you usually need to recover from COVID-19 depends on your situation and may take up to 12 weeks. Occasionally, symptoms may last longer and can have an impact on your day-to-day life. 27 28

If you're experiencing symptoms more than a month after your infection, you should contact your healthcare provider to discuss treatment options. Also, it would be best to have some tests done to rule out any other conditions that could be causing your symptoms.

Long COVID treatment will depend on the symptoms you’re experiencing and can involve a plan specifically for you to manage your symptoms and improve your quality of life. 

Wrapping up

COVID-19 treatments depend on the severity of your symptoms. Most people can overcome the virus independently and relieve their symptoms using home remedies. For others, specific COVID-19 medications exist which support the immune system in fighting the virus.


Q: How can you get over COVID-19 faster?
A: You can get over COVID-19 faster by resting and using home remedies to relieve your symptoms. If you recognize yourself in the risk factors in this article, you should contact your doctor for more information surrounding COVID-19 medications. 

Q: Can you take Ibuprofen with COVID-19?
A: Ibuprofen is one of the recommended painkillers to relieve the symptoms of an infection with the coronavirus. It’s also effective to decrease your fever in case one is present. 

Q: Is there a cure for COVID-19? 
A: For most people, their immune system is able to fight the coronavirus on its own. Others, however, may need antiviral medication or admission to the hospital for additional treatment. 

Q: Who should take Paxlovid for COVID-19?
A: Paxlovid is one of the antiviral medications that can be prescribed to those with a high risk of falling seriously ill due to an infection with the coronavirus. Your doctor can inform you which COVID-19 drugs are best for you. 

Q: How can you get COVID-19 treatments? 
A: If you’ve tested positive for COVID-19 and are concerned about your health, your doctor must assess your risk profile before prescribing you antiviral medication. It’s important to know that treatment should be started as soon as possible to be effective.