Sounds like 'Rem-des-eh-veer'

Key points about remdesivir

  • Remdesivir is used to treat people who have mild-to-moderate COVID-19 infection.
  • Remdesivir is also called Veklury.
  • Find out how to take it safely and possible side effects.


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Remdesivir is an antiviral medicine that can reduce the amount of virus that causes COVID-19. It is used to treat people with COVID-19 infection who meet certain criteria for its use. It is only useful when given within 7 days of the start of your COVID-19 illness so your doctors will decide whether you need this. It may help you stay out of hospital and get better sooner.  

Remdesivir is ONLY used to treat people who are at risk of getting very sick with COVID-19.

Remdesivir is best used in the first few days of COVID-19 infection.

You can get Remdesivir if ALL of these apply:

  1. You test positive for COVID-19 and have symptoms, or you're a household contact of someone with COVID-19 and have symptoms, and
  2. You became sick within the last 7 days, and
  3. You are eligible for the medicine.

Read more about eligibility for COVID-19 antiviral medicines. (external link)Please note: Even if you are eligible, these medicines may not be suitable for you.

If you're not sure if you are eligible to get remdesivir, talk to your GP, nurse, hauora provider or pharmacist about COVID-19 antiviral medicines. They will advise you whether remdesivir is suitable for you.

Remdesivir is given ONCE a day, usually for 3 days. It is given by a slow injection into your vein (called an intravenous infusion), over 30–120 minutes. 

Before you are given remdesivir, tell your doctor if you:

  • have liver or kidney problems
  • have any other conditions including diabetes, heart problems, high or low blood pressure, blood disorders, epilepsy or seizures (fits)
  • have had previous allergic reactions to any medicine including over-the-counter and complementary medicines, eg, vitamins, minerals, herbal or naturopathic medicines that you are taking or have recently taken
  • think you are pregnant or are planning a pregnancy.

As remdesivir is a new medicine, it is possible that we do not know all of the side effects yet. However, many people in clinical trials, as well as those abroad and in Aotearoa New Zealand, have been treated with remdesivir for COVID-19.

Common side effects

These are usually mild and go away with time or when the medicine is stopped. Tell your doctor if these side effects cause you problems or don’t go away:

  • feeling sick (nausea)
  • headache.

Rare, serious side effects

Contact your healthcare team or Healthline on 0800 611 116 immediately if you notice these side effects and tell them you are
taking remdesivir:

  • Signs of an allergic reaction such as a skin rash, puffiness or swelling of the eyelids or around the eyes, face, lips, or tongue.
  • Signs of liver problems such as yellow eyes or skin, dark pee, or pain or discomfort in the upper stomach area.

Did you know that you can report a side effect to a medicine to CARM (Centre for Adverse Reactions Monitoring)? Report a side effect to a product(external link)

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Credits: Sandra Ponen, Pharmacist, Healthify He Puna Waiora. Healthify is brought to you by Health Navigator Charitable Trust.

Reviewed by: Maya Patel, Pharmacist

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