COVID-19 Treatment Options

To see if these treatments are available or if you are eligible for treatment call your primary care physician. 

Here are some Frequently Asked Questions about COVID-19 medications and treatment options.

Frequently Asked Questions

What COVID-19-specific treatments or medicines are available for hospitalized patients?

Remdesivir is an antiviral drug that has been approved by the FDA for adults and certain pediatric patients with COVID-19 who are sick enough to need hospitalization. Remdesivir requires infusion through an IV over five consecutive days. It is also known as Veklury.

What COVID-19-specific treatments or medicines are available for non-hospitalized patients?

Most people who get sick with COVID-19 will be able to recover at home, and some of the same things you do to feel better if you have the flu also help with COVID-19. These include such things as getting enough rest, staying well hydrated, and taking over-the-counter medications such as Tylenol or Advil to relieve fever and aches and pains. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has guidance for at-home treatment of COVID-19.

People who are not hospitalized, but who are at high risk for developing severe illness may require medications and treatments to limit the progression of COVID-19. The FDA has authorized, under Emergency Use Authorization (EUA), the following treatments for this population based on studies that show they are effective at keeping people from requiring hospitalization.

These are listed below and all are predicted to be effective against the Omicron variant of COVID-19:

  • Monoclonal antibody treatment- Antibodies are part of our natural defense against viruses such COVID-19. Monoclonal antibodies are antibodies produced in a lab that are given as a one-time infusion through an IV at an infusion center to patients who have COVID-19. For people with COVID-19, the antibodies get into the circulation before the body can make its own antibodies, which provides a kick-start in fighting the virus. A monoclonal antibody called Bebtoluvimab provides antibodies that are currently effective against circulating variants of Omicron. 

    Learn more about monoclonal antibody treatment
  • Paxlovid - An antiviral pill for adults and children age 12 and older who weigh at least 88 pounds and who are at high risk of severe disease and hospitalization. Patients take three pills twice a day for five days. Paxlovid can cause interactions with widely used medications, including statins, blood thinners and some antidepressants, so your doctor has to check to make sure Paxlovid can be taken safely with your medications. The FDA does not recommend Paxlovid for people with severe kidney or liver disease.

  • Molnupiravir - An antiviral pill that is authorized for use only when other therapies are not readily available, and it is not recommended for individuals who are pregnant, breastfeeding or under the age of 18. Patients take four pills twice a day for five days.

  • Remdesivir – While the FDA approved it for people in the hospital, a clinical research study found that three days of this antiviral was effective at preventing the need for hospitalization in outpatients with COVID-19. UNC Health is administering Remdesivir at infusion clinics and in the hospital when there is insufficient supplies of monoclonal antibodies (Bebtoluvimab) or Paxlovid.

Does being pregnant increase my risk of progressing to more severe COVID-19?

Yes. Available data show that pregnant individuals who become infected with COVID-19 are much more likely to die or experience serious complications compared to pregnant individuals who do not become infected with COVID-19. In addition, COVID-19 also puts the baby at risk—those who contract the virus during pregnancy face a higher risk of preterm birth and stillbirth.

Unvaccinated pregnant individuals are especially at risk. Since vaccines became widely available, the overwhelming majority of people hospitalized with COVID-19 have been unvaccinated. In addition, both the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) have recommended individuals who are pregnant or planning pregnancy should get vaccinated and get a booster shot when eligible.   

Recent studies show that vaccinating pregnant women against COVID-19 may help prevent COVID-19 hospitalizations in infants after they are born, especially if the expecting mothers received their shots later in their pregnancy.

Are COVID-19 medications for safe for people who are pregnant?

Yes, with the exception of Molnupiravir. Individuals who are at high risk for developing severe illness, which includes those who are pregnant, are likely to benefit from medications and treatments to limit the progression of COVID-19. The FDA has authorized, under emergency use authorization, treatments based on studies that show they are effective at keeping people from requiring hospitalization. The following treatment options are available for people who are pregnant:

  • Paxlovid

    Paxlovid is an antiviral pill for adults and children ages 12 and older who weigh at least 88 pounds and who are at high risk of severe disease and hospitalization. It is the most effective treatment available at this time for mild to moderate COVID symptoms in high-risk individuals and considered to be more effective than monoclonal treatment. 

    Paxlovid consists of two medications taken together, nirmatrelvir and ritonavir. In total, three pills are taken twice a day for five days as soon as someone develops symptoms. It should be started within five days of symptoms. The Society for Maternal Fetal Medicine endorses the use of Paxlovid in pregnancy.

    There is no cost for this treatment.

  • Monoclonal Antibody Treatment

    Antibodies are part of our natural defense against viruses such COVID-19. Monoclonal antibodies are antibodies produced in a lab that are given through an IV as a one-time infusion to outpatients who have COVID-19. For people with COVID-19, the antibodies get into the circulation before the body can make its own antibodies, which provides a kick-start in fighting the virus.

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and ACOG recommends monoclonal antibody infusion therapy within the first 10 days of COVID-19 symptoms to help lessen the severity of the disease for pregnant individuals and their unborn babies. Ideally, the infusion should occur in the first four days of symptoms.

    Bebtoluvimab is a monoclonal antibody treatment that is effective against circulating variants of Omicron. Monoclonal antibodies can be used in pregnant individuals.

    There is no cost for this treatment.

  • Remdesivir

    Remdesivir is an antiviral drug that has been approved by the FDA for adults and certain pediatric patients with COVID-19 who are sick enough to need hospitalization. It is now also approved to give to outpatients. Remdesivir requires infusion through an IV over three consecutive days.

    A clinical research study found that a three-day course of this antiviral was effective at preventing the need for hospitalization in outpatients with COVID-19. Rates of hospitalization or death were about 87 percent lower in study participants treated with Remdesivir.

    Remdesivir can be given to pregnant women. 
    • This is an FDA approved medication, and you or your insurance company can be billed for its cost.

    To see if these treatments are available or if you are eligible for treatment talk to your doctor.

    How to Seek Treatment

    To see if these treatments are available or if you are eligible for treatment call your primary care physician. 

    The NC Department of Health and Human Services also has a COVID-19 Treatment Locator that can be used to find sites that administer Bebtelovimab and pharmacies that may have supplies of Paxlovid and Molnupirivir.

    NCDHHS Treatment Locator