Patients today have more treatment options in the battle against coronavirus disease. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved two drug treatments for COVID-19 and has authorized others for emergency use during this public health emergency. In addition, many more therapies are being tested in clinical trials to evaluate whether they are safe and effective in combating COVID-19.
Here’s a closer look at some of the available COVID-19 treatments and how to get more information about them and others. Talk to your health care provider about available treatment options if you have COVID-19. Your provider will know the best option for you, based on your symptoms, risks, and health history.
What treatments are available for COVID-19?
The FDA has approved the antiviral drug Veklury (remdesivir) for adults and certain pediatric patients with COVID-19. This is an intravenous therapy (IV). The FDA has also approved the immune modulator Olumiant (baricitinib) for certain hospitalized adults with COVID-19.
During public health emergencies, the FDA may authorize the use of unapproved drugs or unapproved uses of approved drugs under certain conditions. This is called an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA). Therapeutic products authorized under an EUA are listed on the FDA’s EUA page. These products are not a substitute for vaccination against COVID-19.
For example, the FDA has issued EUAs for several monoclonal antibody treatments for COVID-19 for the treatment, and in some cases prevention (prophylaxis), of COVID-19 in adults and pediatric patients. Monoclonal antibodies are laboratory-made molecules that act as substitute antibodies. They can help your immune system recognize and respond more effectively to the virus, making it more difficult for the virus to reproduce and cause harm.
There are also two oral antiviral pills, Paxlovid and Lagevrio (molnupiravir), authorized for patients with mild-to-moderate COVID-19, with strong scientific evidence they can reduce the risk of progressing to severe disease, including hospitalization and death. If you have a positive COVID-19 test and symptoms, contact your health care provider to see if these treatment options are right for you.
The FDA is continually monitoring how authorized and approved treatments for COVID-19 are affected by changing variants. If data shows the authorized dose of a treatment is unlikely to be effective against a current variant, the FDA may announce that the therapy is no longer authorized for use at this time. When that happens, the U.S. government recommends that the product be stored in case that treatment works on a future variant.
The FDA continues to work with developers, researchers, manufacturers, the National Institutes of Health, and other partners to help expedite the development and availability of therapeutic drugs and biological products to prevent or treat COVID-19. To check whether a drug is approved by FDA, search the database of approved drugs by visiting the Drugs@FDA database.
Researchers are studying drugs that are already approved for other health conditions as possible treatments for COVID-19. Additionally, the FDA created the Coronavirus Treatment Acceleration Program (CTAP) to use every available means to assess new treatments and move them to patients as quickly as possible.
Resources to keep yourself and others safe from COVID-19 are available at COVID.gov.
What should I do if I have, or think I have, COVID-19?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have recommendations for people who are sick with COVID-19 or think they might have COVID-19.
In general, most people have mild illness and can recover at home. If you think you have been exposed to COVID-19, notify your doctor, monitor your symptoms, and get emergency medical care immediately for emergency warning signs, such as trouble breathing.
If you think you need a COVID-19 diagnostic test, you can find a community testing site in your state. You can also use an FDA-authorized at-home COVID-19 diagnostic test, which gives you the option of self-testing where it is convenient for you. Be aware that COVID-19 diagnostic tests are authorized for specific uses. For example, some tests can be used by people with and without symptoms and other tests are only for people with symptoms. Also, laboratory-based tests, such as PCR tests, are generally more accurate than at-home tests.
How can I access these treatments?
Depending on your medical history, risks, and symptoms, your health care provider can help you determine whether a therapy that is FDA-approved, or available under an EUA, is right for you. Also, the U.S. government maintains a locator tool for COVID-19 therapeutics.
What if my health care provider doesn’t know about these treatment options?
Information about treatment options is available on the COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions web page. For information specifically about EUAs, direct your health care provider to the FDA’s Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) page, where fact sheets for health care providers are available on authorized treatments. Your health care provider can also contact our Division of Drug Information at 301-796-3400 or [email protected].
There’s a lot of information online. How can I know what drugs are safe?
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].
How can I participate in a COVID-19-related clinical trial?
Talk to your health care provider about possibly enrolling in a clinical trial in your area. For information about clinical trials for COVID-19 treatments, visit clinicaltrials.gov and the COVID-19 Prevention Network.
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