Treatments for Long Covid

At the time of writing (October 2022) there are no approved treatments for Long Covid itself, although some of the common symptoms (for example pain, fatigue, and breathlessness) may be improved.

We asked young people with Long Covid and parents caring for young people with Long Covid about any treatments they had tried to help with symptoms. Sometimes these were treatments that they’d found out about by themselves and other times treatments were prescribed or recommended by doctors. In terms of medicine, these ranged from over-the counter painkillers such as paracetamol and non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (e.g., ibuprofen) to prescription medicines. Young people had also tried treatments like hydrotherapy, oxygen therapy, acupuncture, talking therapies, antihistamines, and a range of vitamins and supplements. Some had also made changes to their diet.

Views were mixed. Some reported that treatments like prescription steroids, melatonin (a natural hormone that helps control your sleep cycle), hydrotherapy, and talking therapies had helped, whereas others reported little improvement or were concerned about negative side effects.

Lucy A finds it very helpful to talk things through with her psychiatrist. She thinks acupuncture has also helped.

As a GP, Richard was able to access a powerful anti-inflammatory called colchicine, usually prescribed for gout, which he thinks may have helped with his son’s stabbing chest pains.

Richard says that after six months of “hell on earth,” his son is now fairly asymptomatic.

Parents like Lindsey and Beth talked about their concerns around drug side effects, while Richard said he felt that psychological therapy made his son worse.

Lindsey talks about the nightmares her son suffered after being prescribed topiramate, a prescription drug.

Many felt frustrated that there weren’t more treatments to help young people with Long Covid. Amira’s GP only suggested multivitamins and she felt they could have offered more in the way of treatment. Her mum managed to get her a referral for some counselling from CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental health Services). Catherine and also Jana talked about going to Germany to access a private experimental treatment for their children that is not available in the UK. This would be expensive and very hard to arrange the logistics of travelling, but in the absence of any proven effective treatments in the UK, they were willing to try to get help abroad.

Amira’s GP suggested multivitamins and she felt they could have offered more in the way of treatment. Her mum organised for her to get some counselling.

Long Covid clinics

This section explores children and young people’s experiences with accessing specialist Long Covid clinics. These included both virtual and in-person clinics. They often involved a...