COVID-19 Treatment Options
UNC Health has a very limited supply of COVID-19 medications for outpatients right now, including monoclonal antibody treatments. 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 Sotrovimab is the only monoclonal antibody available that is predicted to be effective against Omicron. There is a very limited supply of monoclonal antibody treatment medications right now.
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 severe or life-threatening interactions with widely used medications, including statins, blood thinners and some antidepressants, and the FDA does not recommend Paxlovid for people with severe kidney or liver disease. The supply of this medication is very limited.
- 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 planning to administer Remdesivir at infusion clinics when there is insufficient supplies of monoclonal antibodies (Sotroovimab) or Paxlovid.