Treatment varies depending on the severity of the illness. Some patients who get COVID-19 are likely to cope with mild to moderate symptoms. These patients should isolate themselves at home and can recover from the illness as they would from the flu, by getting plenty of fluids, resting and treating any fevers or body aches with over-the-counter medications. People coping with a severe form of COVID-19 may develop pneumonia and other breathing difficulties. These patients may require hospitalization.
People who are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, or think they may have been exposed to COVID-19, should contact their health care provider immediately.
Ivermectin and COVID-19
UCHealth is not authorized to order, prescribe or dispense Ivermectin to prevent or treat COVID-19 outside of a clinical trial.
Certain forms of Ivermectin are approved in the U.S. to treat or prevent parasites in animals. This includes pour-on, injectable, paste and “drench” forms. Ivermectin tablets are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for human use at very exact doses to treat some parasitic worms. There are also topical (on the skin) forms for head lice and skin conditions like rosacea.
Ivermectin is not approved to prevent or treat COVID-19. The use of this drug to treat COVID-19 is strongly opposed by the American Society of Health System Pharmacists (ASHP), American Medical Association (AMA), American Pharmacists Association (APhA), National Institute of Health (NIH) and Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA). The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also warns that Ivermectin is not approved for treatment of COVID-19.
- The FDA has not approved Ivermectin to prevent or treat COVID-19 in humans. Ivermectin is approved for human use to treat infections caused by some parasitic worms and head lice and skin conditions like rosacea.
- Current data do not show that Ivermectin is effective against COVID-19. Clinical trials are ongoing to study Ivermectin tablets to prevent or treat COVID-19 in people.
- Poison control centers across the U.S. have received 3 to 5 times the number of calls for human exposures to Ivermectin, since before the pandemic.
- Taking large doses of Ivermectin is dangerous. The U.S. poison control centers have reported serious adverse effects after people have taken Ivermectin intended for use in cattle or bought online. These reports are linked to an increase in emergency department and hospital visits.
- If your health care provider writes you an Ivermectin prescription, fill it through a trusted source such as a pharmacy. Take it exactly as prescribed.
- Never use medications used to treat animals on yourself or other people. Animal Ivermectin products are very different from those approved for humans. Use of animal Ivermectin to treat or prevent COVID-19 in humans is dangerous.
Signs of Ivermectin poisoning include: digestive effects (nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, and diarrhea), headache, blurred vision, dizziness, fast heart rate (tachycardia), low blood pressure (hypotension), seeing things that aren’t really there (visual hallucinations), altered mental status, confusion, loss of coordination and balance, slowed breathing or heart rate (CNS depression) and seizures. Ivermectin may increase how sleepy you feel from other medicines, such as benzodiazepines (sometimes called “benzos”) and barbiturates.
The most effective way to protect yourself from serious illness or death is to get the COVID-19 vaccine and follow current CDC guidelines.
Monoclonal antibody therapy
For people at high risk of getting very sick from COVID-19, monoclonal antibody treatment given early can significantly reduce the risk of progressing to severe COVID-19 disease and needing hospitalization. The treatment can also shorten the duration of COVID-19 symptoms. People who are not in one or more of the high-risk groups will not be considered under the FDA guidance at this time.
Due to a shortage of monoclonal antibody medicine, all orders for monoclonal antibody therapy will be reviewed. Appointments will be made based on patient risk and treatment availability.
Oral antiviral treatment
Two new COVID-19 oral antiviral medications were approved in late December 2021 by the FDA, paxlovid and molnupiravir. Like monoclonal antibody therapy, supplies of these medications are very limited. Only patients at highest risk for getting very sick or being hospitalized will be considered for this treatment.
These oral antiviral medications each have specific side effects and disease and drug interactions, so our virtual health providers and pharmacists are screening patient histories carefully before these medications are given to patients.
Is there a vaccine to prevent COVID-19?
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued full approval for use of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine (now called Comirnaty) for people who are age 16 or older, and Emergency Use Authorizations (EUA) for use of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for people who are age 12 through 15, and the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson (J&J) COVID-19 vaccines for people who are age 18 or older.
Get the latest COVID-19 vaccine updates and information.
Who is most at risk after contracting COVID-19?
As with all viruses, some people are more vulnerable than others. According to the CDC, older adults and people who have certain underlying conditions like heart or lung disease or diabetes are at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19.