How Do Covid-19 Medicines Work?

Covid-19 medicines

Most people who contract coronavirus typically get better at home and only a few people suffer from complications and need hospitalization. Contrary to what people think, there is no such medicine that could treat Covid-19. And there is only one medicine that is approved by US FDA but many medicines are currently under testing.

Last year, remdesivir (Veklury), an antiviral drug was approved by the FDA to treat the Covid-19 symptoms in adults and teenagers. Normally, it is prescribed to those patients who are hospitalised with extreme complications. Other patients experiencing light to moderate effects don’t need remdesivir to get better.

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Remdesivir is injected directly into the skin, intravenously. FDA has given another medicine drug baricitinib (Olumiant) an emergency approval which is typically used for rheumatoid arthritis. In some Covid-19 patients, Baricitinib may help to lower the inflammation and help against the antiviral activity. According to the FDA, baricitinib can be combined with remdesivir but for only those patients who are in a hospital and are using mechanical ventilators.

Some of the other Covid-19 medicines that may help severe patients include:

Other antiviral medicines such as favipiravir as well as merimepodib are currently being tested against coronavirus. Other antiviral medicines such as lopinavir or ritonavir were not found helpful against Covid-19.

Dexamethasone is a corticosteroid that is typically used to relieve inflammation. With reference to Covid-19, researchers are investigating whether it helps against lung damage caused by inflammation in a Covid-19 positive patient.

There are many studies that reveal its potential to save from death by Covid-19 complications. It reduces the deaths by 30% among patients who are on ventilator and 20% in patients who are using supplemental oxygen. According to the U.S. National Institutes of Health, using Dexamethasone can save people from deaths. Many other corticosteroids for example prednisone and hydrocortisone, can also be used in case dexamethasone is short.

Some researchers also believe that using immune-based therapy such as convalescent plasma may also help Covid-19 patients. FDA has already approved it for helping severe patients but it is only possible if there is plasma available from any person who has recovered from Covid-19.

There are some medicines used to treat Covid-19 patients despite the uncertainty related to their use. These medicines include amlodipine and losartan who have helped in some cases but there is no information on how they save people from complications.

During the first half of the pandemic, two antimalarial drugs Hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine also gained fame for showing efficacy in Covid-19 patients. These two medicines have FDA’s emergency use approval but then they were withdrawn when research found them ineffective for treating Covid-19.

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There are no medicines that may prevent contracting or initiating Covid-19 in any patient. But many researchers are working on drug development which may help people, before exposing to the virus and after exposing to the virus.

For now, there is no information on whether there will be a medicine that could save a person from coronavirus and without clinical evidence, it is hard to trust that a pre-existing medicine is working effectively on Covid-19 patients.

CDC recommends not to use any medicine as a part of Covid-19 self-treatment. If abused or wrongly used, all of these medicines can lead to severe side effects which can cause early death and other extreme complications in a Covid-19 patient.

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