Medicines for treating COVID-19  

COVID-19 medicines (also called therapeutics) can be prescribed to reduce the severity of illness and help reduce the risk of hospitalisation for those who are most vulnerable to COVID-19. 

COVID-19 medicines for use in the community 

There are two different oral medicines to treat COVID-19 in New Zealand communities. Their brand names are Paxlovid and Lagevrio.  

These medicines can be prescribed to people who have been diagnosed with COVID-19, have symptoms, and are at a higher risk of hospitalisation including Māori and Pacific peoples, those with complex health needs, the elderly and unvaccinated populations, and people with disabilities. They may help people get better faster and stay out of hospital. 

The medicines are both five-day courses of tablets or capsules. They need to be taken within five days of a person first developing symptoms for COVID-19.  

How to get Paxlovid or Lagevrio 

If you test positive for COVID-19 and have other health issues or long-term conditions, talk to your GP, community pharmacy, or health care provider as soon as possible.  

Your health practitioner will assess you to confirm whether you are eligible for COVID-19 medicines and if so, how to take them. 

How else you can look after yourself 

There is currently no cure for COVID-19, but there are things you can do to help ease symptoms. 

You should consider having some of the following medicines available, just in case you need them: 

  • Paracetamol and ibuprofen 
  • Throat lozenges 
  • Nose spray or drops
  • Cold/flu tablets 
  • Electrolyte solutions 
  • Vitamin C tablets or powder 
  • Vapour rubs 

You can find out more information about how to manage your COVID-19 symptoms on the Health Navigator website. 

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