Most cases of COVID-19 are mild and can be managed at home. Some people who are at higher risk may need specific antiviral treatments prescribed by a healthcare provider.

These treatments will not be suitable for everyone and are prescription only. If required, a health care provider will work with you to determine which treatment option is suitable for your circumstances.

If you think you may be eligible to receive one of these treatments, discuss this with National Coronavirus Helpline on 1800 020 080, who can notify your usual GP or health care provider.

Use the COVID-19 Symptom and Antiviral Eligibility Checker to find out if you are eligible for antiviral medication.

Oral treatments for COVID-19

The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has granted provisional approval to two oral COVID-19 treatments:

  • Paxlovid (nirmatrelvir + ritonavir)
  • Lagevrio (molnupiravir)

Antiviral treatments taken as capsules or tablets may help stop COVID-19 infection from becoming severe. Courses of these antiviral treatments need to be started as soon as possible after symptoms from COVID-19 begin.

Eligibility for oral COVID-19 treatments

People at higher risk of severe illness who test positive to COVID-19 are eligible for oral antiviral treatments.

Older Australians and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

If you test positive for COVID-19, you may be eligible for antiviral treatments if you are:

  • 70 years and older regardless of risk factors
  • 50 years or older with two additional risk factors
  • Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander, 30 years or older with one additional risk factor.

Risk factors for these groups include:

  • living in residential aged care
  • living with disability with multiple conditions and/or frailty (but not limited to living in supported accommodation)
  • neurological conditions like stroke or dementia and demyelinating conditions e.g. multiple sclerosis, Guillain-Barre Syndrome
  • chronic respiratory conditions including COPD, moderate or severe asthma
  • obesity or diabetes (type I or II requiring medication)
  • heart failure, coronary artery disease, cardiomyopathies
  • kidney failure or cirrhosis
  • living remotely with reduced access to higher level healthcare.

People aged 18 years and older with severe immunocompromise

If you test positive for COVID-19 and have moderate to severe immunocompromise, you may be eligible for antiviral treatments.

Eligible conditions include:

  • blood cancer or some red blood cell disorders (thalassemia, sickle cell disease)
  • transplant recipient
  • primary or acquired (HIV) immunodeficiency
  • chemotherapy or whole-body radiotherapy in the last 3 months
  • high dose corticosteroids or pulse corticosteroid therapy in the last 3 months
  • immunosuppressive treatments in the last 3 months
  • rituximab in the last 12 months
  • cerebral palsy or Down Syndrome
  • congenital heart disease
  • living with disability with multiple conditions and/or frailty.

Who should not have antiviral COVID-19 treatments

If you are pregnant or currently breast feeding you should not have oral COVID-19 treatments. Instead, ensure you are up to date with your COVID-19 vaccinations or discuss with your GP regarding intravenous options.

If you have severe kidney or liver disease you should not have Paxlovid COVID-19 treatment. Talk to your healthcare provider about alternative oral treatments.

COVID-19 treatments and fertility

If you are prescribed the oral treatment Paxlovid for COVID-19 and you are also taking prescribed birth control 'the pill', you should use extra contraception as the treatment may affect how the pill works.

Also, it is recommended you use effective forms of contraception:

  • during treatment and for 4 days after with Lagevrio
  • during treatment and for 7 days after with Paxlovid.

Men should use contraception during and for 3 months after taking Lagevrio.

Talk to your healthcare provider about contraceptives and what is best for your situation.

COVID-19 pre-exposure prophylaxis

Tixagevimab and cilgavimab (Evusheld®) is a pre-exposure prophylactic that prevents COVID-19.

Limited supplies are available for people at high-risk. This includes people who are severely immunocompromised and may not be able to produce an adequate immune response, as well as people who are not recommended to have vaccination against COVID-19 because of a previous severe adverse reaction.

Evusheld is not a substitute for COVID-19 vaccination. Vaccination remains the most important tool in preventing hospitalisation from COVID-19.

Speak with your usual doctor if you think you may be eligible for Evusheld.

Infusion treatments for COVID-19

The TGA has granted provisional approval for sotrovimab infusion treatment to be used in Australia.

  • People with confirmed COVID-19 who are at high risk of COVID-19 can be referred by a health care provider to access an infusion.

The treatment requires a single dose to be administered through an intravenous infusion in a health care facility and reduces the risk of severe illness and hospitalisation.

More information

For more information about eligibility to treatments and a clinical assessment for COVID-19 contact the National Coronavirus Helpline on 1800 020 080. This line operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with additional options for priority groups.

Use the COVID-19 Symptom and Antiviral Eligibility Checker to find out if you are eligible for antiviral medication.

Translated information about oral treatments for COVID-19 is available in multiple languages on the Australian Department of Health and Aged Care website.

Oral Treatments are available at your local community pharmacy. Find more information about participating pharmacies.

Health care providers can find more information on treatments and referrals for mild COVID-19 illness.