COVID-19 Coronavirus: Treatments and antiviral medication

Information about treatment options, including antiviral medication, for COVID-19.

There are different medications available that help people with COVID-19 to relieve their symptoms and prevent serious illness.

For COVID-19 medications to work at their best, most must be started early – within the first 5 days of COVID-19 symptoms.

That’s why it’s important to get tested for COVID-19 as soon as you notice any symptoms, particularly if you are at a higher risk for severe disease.

How can I treat COVID-19?

Over the counter pain-relieving medication or cold and flu tablets can reduce some symptoms. Be mindful of not exceeding the recommended dose.

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

If you have tested positive to COVID-19, you may be eligible for treatment with an antiviral medication. Before your doctor prescribes you this medication, they will check that it is the right medication to help you and that it is safe for you to use.

What are antivirals?

Antivirals are medications that help stop a virus infecting healthy cells or multiplying in the body. They help stop the spread of the virus through your body and help your immune system to fight off the infection.

COVID-19 antiviral medications work best when taken as soon as possible, usually within five days from when your symptoms starting.

It’s important to note that antivirals are not a substitute for vaccination.

Are there antiviral medications for COVID-19 in Western Australia?

Yes. The Commonwealth Department of Health has authorised some antiviral medications to treat eligible patients who have tested positive to COVID-19.

Your GP or healthcare provider will let you know the best treatment option for you.

More information on antivirals and other COVID-19 treatments is available on WA Health’s website.

Who is eligible to receive antivirals?

You may be eligible for antiviral medications if you are:

  • 70 years or older
  • 50 years or older with two or more risk factors for severe disease
  • An Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person aged 30 years or older with two or more risk factors for severe disease
  • 18 years or older and immunocompromised.

More advice on the eligibility criteria can be found on the Department of Health’s website

How can I access antivirals?

Your GP or healthcare provider will determine if a COVID-19 medication will be helpful for you.

You are encouraged to see your GP about your eligibility in advance so treatments can be identified should you contract COVID-19, 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.

Useful resources:

Page reviewed 5 August 2022