Treatments are available for COVID-19

Illustration of COVID-19

Protect Your Health

Treatments are available for COVID-19

COVID-19 treatments can help prevent severe illness in high-risk patients to help keep them out of the hospital. Learn about your medication options if you are at high risk for developing severe disease [Español ].

Am I at high risk of developing severe illness?

Some people are at higher risk for more severe illness from COVID-19 [Español].This includes adults over the age of 65, people of any age with certain chronic health conditions – people who live in congregate settings, and people who have a weakened immune system. Severe illness from COVID-19 means that you may need to be hospitalized, may need intensive care, may need a ventilator to help you breathe, or that you may die as a result of the infection.

People who have weakened immune systems may benefit from preventive medications before they are exposed to COVID-19. Individuals who become sick with COVID-19, whether they are unvaccinated or fully vaccinated, may benefit from other available medications.

How do I access these treatments and what do they cost?

If you think you may be at high-risk for severe illness from COVID-19, and you have a positive COVID-19 test, you should talk with your healthcare provider right away. If you are advised that treatment is needed, these medicines require a prescription. These medicines help most when they are started early – so don’t delay, and get in to see your healthcare provider as soon as possible.

If you are advised to receive a treatment for COVID-19, you can search the COVID-19 treatments locator to find the nearest treatment site, or your healthcare provider can advise you where you can  fill your prescription. Options for finding COVID-19 treatments online can be found at findcovidcare.com or by asking your insurance company about telehealth options.

These medications are often covered by insurance, including Medicare. People who are under or uninsured can call their local health department to locate a nearby Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) or Free Clinic for access to COVID-19 treatment.

Most of these medications are free, but you may be responsible for a co-pay or administration fee at the location where you receive the treatment (such as an infusion or injection of monoclonal antibodies). You will not be responsible for any fees from a pharmacy if receiving tablets or capsules for the treatment of COVID-19.  More information about fees associated with these medications can be found in the table below.

If you do not have health insurance, you may be able to find a health center near you .

Outpatient and post-exposure treatments

Most people can recover from COVID-19 using at-home symptom treatments. Those at high-risk for severe illness may benefit from medications.

Some medications can be used to help prevent someone from getting sick before they are exposed to COVID-19, and can be helpful for people with a weak immune system or who cannot receive a vaccine.

Some medications can help prevent a person from going to the hospital or becoming more seriously ill if they are already sick with COVID-19.  Monoclonal antibodies help a person’s body fight off COVID-19, and antiviral medications help prevent the virus from spreading through the body. These treatments are for non hospitalized people and are effective if taken as soon as possible after symptoms begin.

Summary Table of Food and Drug Administration Authorized Treatments for high-risk patients.

*The federal government has purchased supplies of certain COVID-19 medications and is distributing them free of charge. This means patients do not have to pay for the medication itself, but there may be other fees associated with getting the treatment that a person or an insurance company would need to pay.

There are other COVID-19 medications that are not being distributed for free by the government and are available commercially. This is similar to other types of medication. This means you may pay for the medication as well as administration fees associated with getting the treatment.. Talk to your health care provider or pharmacist if you have any questions about costs associated with receiving a particular treatment. Health insurance may cover a portion of these costs.

Treatments for hospitalized COVID-19 patients

There are also medications available to treat people who are in the hospital with severe illness from COVID-19. You can find more information about treatments for hospitalized patients on the FDA webpage [Español ].

What if I’m not at high risk for severe illness?

If you have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and you are not at high-risk for severe illness, your healthcare provider may recommend treatments to reduce your symptoms and help your body fight the virus

  • Drink water to stay hydrated
  • Get plenty of rest
  • Take medications like acetaminophen or ibuprofen to reduce fever

Benefits of vaccination compared to treatments

Vaccination remains the most important tool to control spread of the virus. The vaccines are free, safe, and widely available to everyone ages 6 months and older. Vaccines offer long-term protection against COVID-19 and have been shown to be effective against variants of COVID-19, including Omicron.

Learn more

Resources for more information:

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