COVID-19 treatments

Over-the-counter treatments

Pain-relieving medication or cold and flu tablets may help reduce some symptoms. Be mindful of not exceeding the recommended dosages of these products.

Most importantly, drink lots of water, take electrolytes (available from your pharmacy) if vomiting and sleep when you feel like it.

Prescription treatments

Antiviral medication is available to people at risk of becoming seriously ill with COVID-19.

You must take this medication within the first 5 days of symptom onset.

People at risk of becoming seriously ill from COVID-19 should see their doctor as soon as possible to better understand their options and develop a treatment plan. Eligibility for these medications is summarised below but suitability will also depend on other factors such as what other medications you are taking and whether you are pregnant.  

Medication will not be prescribed until you test positive to COVID-19. Your doctor will check which is the best medication to help you and that it is safe for you to use. They will discuss with you the risks and benefits of using the treatment.

Medications have treatment benefits but also can carry some risk of side-effects. It is very important that you do not share prescription medications with any friends or family and take the medication as the doctor has instructed.

Eligibility for antiviral medications 

You may be eligible for the oral antiviral medications if:

  • you are 18 years or older and immunocompromised
  • you are 50 years or older and have two or more risk factors for severe disease
  • you are an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander 30 years or older and have two or more risk factors for severe disease
  • you are 70 years or older

Your GP can help determine if you are eligible for the oral antiviral medications and prescribe the antiviral medication if it is a suitable option for you.

Accessing oral antiviral medications

Antiviral medications should be started within 5 days of developing COVID-19 symptoms.

The medications will be prescribed by your GP (or specialist if you have one). 

The GP will organise an electronic script to be sent to a local pharmacy and the medications will either need to be delivered to you or picked up by someone on your behalf (as you will be in isolation due to being COVID positive). The medications are under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) which means they are available at a subsidised cost. 

You are encouraged to see your GP about your eligibility in advance so treatments can be identified should you contract COVID-19, and/or as soon as you develop symptoms or test positive. 

If you have COVID-19, most GPs can provide telehealth consultations to give you advice over the phone while you are in isolation.  A GP who knows your health conditions is your best option but if you want to be checked in person, you can attend a GP respiratory clinic

Visit the Australian Department of Health website for more information on COVID-19 treatments

COVID-19 patient information sheets: