Get-the-Facts-on-Treatments Get the Facts on COVID-19 Treatments

Get the Facts on COVID-19 Treatments

​Updates as of May 18, 2022:

Several COVID-19 treatment options are available in the United States. If you become ill, a health care provider may decide you are eligible for a COVID-19 treatment if you are at high risk of developing serious illness from COVID-19 and recently tested positive and have mild or moderate symptoms. Do not delay seeking treatment for COVID-19, as these drugs must be used soon after your symptoms start.

Additionally, if you are immunocompromised or cannot get a COVID-19 vaccine due to a prior severe adverse reaction to the vaccine, you may be eligible for a preventative treatment that will reduce your chances of becoming infected with COVID-19.

COVID-19 Treatment Works Best When Given As Soon As Possible after Testing Positive or Being Exposed to COVID-19

Get tested for COVID-19 immediately after you notice symptoms, so you know whether to seek COVID-19 treatments. After you have been exposed (been around someone who has COVID-19) or test positive, talk  with your health care provider as soon as possible to see if you qualify for COVID-19 treatments or find Test to Treat locations that offer COVID-19 testing and oral antiviral pills. Also, follow recommended quarantine guidelines (PDF) if you have been exposed or isolation guidelines if you test positive or have symptoms. The CDC also has a tool to help determine how long you need to isolate, quarantine, or take other steps to prevent spreading COVID-19.

COVID-19 Treatments Are Not a Substitute for the COVID-19 Vaccine

While treatments are an important tool in the fight against COVID-19, vaccines are how we get through this pandemic. Vaccines train your immune system to prevent infection and severe illness. All eligible Californians should get vaccinated or boosted as soon as possible.   

Treatments are used to treat certain high-risk people who are already sick. They may also be given to prevent illness in people who are not as protected from the vaccine due to underlying health conditions or for those who are unable to get the COVID-19 vaccine due to a previous bad reaction (meaning they can't be fully vaccinated).  

How to Access COVID-19 Treatments

COVID-19 treatments work best when taken soon after symptoms begin. Here is how to access outpatient COVID-19 treatments if you have symptoms:

  1. Talk to your health care provider right after you notice symptoms to learn if you qualify for a COVID-19 treatment.

  2. If you do not have a health care provider or do not hear back from your provider within a few days, visit a Test to Treat location to get rapid testing and find out if you are eligible for treatments.

  3. If you do not have insurance, visit an OptumServe location.

Your health care provider might recommend medication that does not require a prescription to relieve symptoms and support your body's natural defenses. The CDC has information on over-the-counter treatments

Go to the hospital or seek emergency medical attention right away if you develop severe COVID-19 symptoms, including:

  • Trouble breathing

  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest

  • New confusion

  • Inability to wake or stay awake

  • Pale, gray, or blue-colored skin, lips, or nail beds, depending on skin tone

Hospital care focuses on treatments which support the body's vital organs and decrease inflammation to prevent death.

IMPORTANTOnly take treatments prescribed by a health care provider. People have been seriously harmed and even died after taking products not authorized for COVID-19, even products approved or prescribed for other uses.

Treatment Types

People considered at high risk of developing serious illness from COVID-19 may benefit from medications that prevent COVID-19 before an exposure, prevent COVID-19 after an exposure, or treat COVID-19 symptoms to prevent further complications and death. 

Current types of treatments administered to prevent and treat COVID-19:  

  • Antivirals prevent viruses from making more of themselves or "multiplying" in the body 

  • Monoclonal antibodies bind to virus and assist the body in getting rid of it  

  • Anti-inflammatories calm an overactive immune response  

How are COVID-19 Treatments Given

Monoclonal antibodies and one antiviral treatment (Remdesivir) are administered intravenously (with an IV) or through injections (shots) by a health care provider in their office, clinic, or hospital. Oral antiviral pills are available at some pharmacies with a prescription and at Test to Treat locations

Cost of COVID-19 Treatments

There is currently no cost for most COVID-19 treatments themselves, but the treating facility may charge for the administration of the drug. Medicare and Medicaid cover all costs. Check your insurance plan, as many large private insurance plans cover costs. If you do not have insurance, ask the treatment facility if there are fees.

Services provided at OptumServe Test to Treat sites will  be free of cost, including for uninsured patients.

Available COVID-19 Treatments

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved and authorized several treatments for emergency use during this public health emergency. Additional treatments are currently undergoing clinical trials to assess their safety and effectiveness in treating COVID-19.

The table below shows COVID-19 treatments that prevent COVID-19 before an exposure or treat mild or moderate COVID-19 once infected. The table includes treatments for those who are not hospitalized (outpatient). This list does not cover medications available for those who are hospitalized (inpatient).  

Your health care provider will consider several factors when determining if an outpatient treatment is right for you, this includes your symptoms as well as your risk for developing severe illness from COVID-19.

IMPORTANT: Unfortunately, California and the rest of the country are likely to experience times where there are shortages of COVID-19 medication. This can happen if there is a surge in COVID-19 cases and there isn't enough medication to treat everyone and/or if some treatments do not work against circulating variants. While the current supply of medications is good, shortages are possible in the future.

 

Treatment Option & Type Treatment Goal/s Method of Administration
Over-the-Counter MedicationsRelieve mild symptoms at home.Varies
Evusheld (tixagevimab/cilgavimab)
Monoclonal antibody

For those that have not been exposed and are not experiencing symptoms:

  • Prevent COVID-19 for people who have a qualifying medical condition, OR people who have a history of severe adverse reactions to vaccines (pre-exposure prophylaxis).
Injections
Paxlovid
Antiviral

For those experiencing mild to moderate symptoms:

  • Treat COVID-19 in outpatients to prevent severe symptoms and hospitalization. 
Pills, taken by mouth

Veklury (remdesivir)*
Antiviral

 

For those experiencing mild to moderate symptoms:

  • Treat COVID-19 in outpatients to prevent severe symptoms and hospitalization.

*Veklury (remdesivir) also has FDA approval to treat patients who are hospitalized for COVID-19.

IV
Bebtelovimab 
Monoclonal antibody

For those experiencing mild to moderate symptoms:

Treat COVID-19 in outpatients to prevent severe symptoms and hospitalization.

IV
Molnupiravir 
Antiviral

For those experiencing mild to moderate symptoms:

Treat COVID-19 in outpatients to prevent severe symptoms and hospitalization. 

Pills, taken by mouth



Originally published on January 19, 2022