Last updated: December 8, 2020
Is there a medication available to treat COVID-19?
There is currently only one FDA approved medication (remdesivir or Veklury®) to treat COVID-19 in hospitalized adult and pediatric patients. Other medications have been investigated in clinical trials for treatment in hospitalized and non-hospitalized patients and the FDA has issued EUA (emergency use authorization) for some. However, many of these investigational therapies require close monitoring for side effects and are reserved for those with other high-risk medical conditions that lead to poor outcomes due to COVID-19. Most people infected with this virus, presenting with mild to moderate symptoms, benefit from and recover with supportive care such as rest, fluids, and fever control at home. Additionally, the FDA continues to recommend against use of hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil) due to limited evidence of effectiveness and potential for serious side effects.
Is there a medication available to prevent COVID-19?
There are currently no medications available to prevent people from getting infected with the COVID-19 virus. The best way to prevent illness is to avoid exposure. Follow CDC Guidelines How To Protect Yourself & Others which include hand washing, cleaning frequently touched surfaces often, wearing a mask when around others, and social distancing. There is currently no evidence from controlled trials which support use of either Zinc, Vitamin C, or Vitamin D for preventing or treating COVID-19.
Is there a vaccine available to prevent COVID-19?
There are currently no vaccines authorized or approved by the FDA for COVID-19. However, several potential vaccines or candidates have been investigated and trials are still on-going. Vaccine manufacturers have applied to the FDA for emergency use authorization. When a vaccine is authorized or approved by the FDA, it will be available in limited supply. Thus, CDC's ACIP (Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices) plans to first vaccinate both health care personnel and residents of long-term care facilities (i.e. nursing homes). More vaccine related information is available here.
Is it safe to take ibuprofen?
There is currently no scientific evidence suggesting that use of ibuprofen can worsen COVID-19. This concern is hypothetical. The World Health Organization (WHO) has made no recommendation against the use of ibuprofen. If you are taking prescription ibuprofen, it is safe to continue taking it for your condition as prescribed by your provider. It is also safe to take either over-the-counter ibuprofen or acetaminophen at recommended doses for short-term use to relieve pain and reduce fever. Discuss with your providers about long-term use of either medication.
Is it safe to continue taking my medications for high blood pressure, specifically ACE-Is and ARBs (examples: Benazepril, Enalapril, Lisinopril, Ramipril, Irbesartan, Losartan, Olmesartan, Valsartan)?
It is important for patients who have been prescribed ACE-Is and ARBs to continue their medication! The benefits of these therapies in reducing cardiovascular disease are well proven. No scientific evidence exists suggesting patients diagnosed with COVID-19 who are taking these medications had worse treatment outcomes. Furthermore, there is new evidence to suggest that patients with COVID-19 who continued their ACE-Is and ARBs as prescribed had better outcomes. The American College of Cardiology, American Heart Association, and Heart Failure Society of America recommends continued treatment as these medications are very important for your heart and your health. Do not stop taking any prescribed medication without first consulting your prescriber!
Is it safe to continue metformin and other blood sugar lowering medications (for example: Januvia, Trulicity, etc.)?
It is important for patients who have been prescribed metformin and other blood sugar lowering medications to continue their medication! The benefits of these therapies in maintaining diabetes control are well proven. There is no evidence from controlled trials suggesting patients diagnosed with COVID-19 who are taking these medications had worse or better outcomes. Do not stop or start taking any prescription medication without first consulting your prescriber.
I take a corticosteroid as a nasal spray, oral tablets, and/or inhaler for my health conditions. Can I continue these?
Yes, these therapies are important to maintain your various health conditions (examples: allergies, asthma, COPD) and should be taken as prescribed by your provider. Do not stop taking any prescribed medication without first consulting your prescriber. Known concerns about corticosteroid use in COVID-19 have only been identified in hospitalized and critically ill patients taking oral corticosteroids.
I take controlled drug substances (examples: Adderall, oxycodone, Xanax) for my chronic conditions. Will I still receive prescription refills if I am not able to see my providers in the office every three months?
Given that there is a Public Health Emergency in effect, the requirements for an in-office visit every three months have been relaxed to ensure patients have no gaps in obtaining these medications. Please contact your provider’s office two weeks before you are due for a refill. In many cases you will be able to have a visit with your provider either by phone or video.
Does my blood type protect me from or increase my risk of COVID-19?
There is no robust clinical evidence that correlates blood types with risk of COVID-19 infection. Currently, your blood type is not a risk factor for COVID-19. We appreciate if you refrain from contacting our offices and/or hospitals to inquire about your blood type as it does not affect how you will be managed if you are suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19.
Does smoking increase my risk of COVID-19?
Considering COVID-19 targets the lungs, we anticipate patients who smoke or vape tobacco or marijuana to be at increased risk of worse outcomes. Based on the information available and the known impact of smoking on other viral lung infections, it is encouraged to abstain from smoking or vaping tobacco or marijuana to minimize your risk. If you need assistance quitting, please contact your health care provider.