Vaccination programs have been rolled out globally since the start of this year. Still, one of the most important ways to reduce the risk of COVID-19 is by maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Beyond these measures, a lot of individuals have been asking if they can take things at home, such as OTC medications and vitamins, to decrease their risk of getting the virus or self-treat themselves.
Recent data shows that over-the-counter or OTC products, such as antipyretics and pain relievers, quercetin, vitamin C, vitamin D, and zinc, may be beneficial in treating mild COVID-19. While this data sounds promising, it is important to understand that there is not enough information to recommend for or against these alternative therapies. In the outpatient setting, including our pharmacy in North Carolina, there are very few medications that are recommended to treat COVID-19. However, the World Health Organization recommends that people with mild COVID-19 symptoms use a symptomatic treatment approach, such as antipyretics for pain and fever, adequate nutrition, and rehydration.
Some clinicians also suggested that acetaminophen must be used over ibuprofen for symptomatic treatment due to concerns that anti-inflammatory medications may worsen the disease. But the FDA reported that there is no scientific evidence associating ibuprofen or other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs with the worsening of COVID-19.
People with mild COVID-19 may reach for OTC medications from a neighborhood pharmacy to alleviate their symptoms, such as congestion, or runny nose, and cough. But reporting this to their physician or doctor is also always important.