FLCCC I-Care Early Treatment Protocol (2023)

The Front Line COVID-19 Critical Care (FLCCC) Alliance was initially formed as a working group under “emergency” conditions of the early COVID-19 pandemic in response to multiple early reports of COVID patients with an inexplicably high need for prolonged mechanical ventilation and an excessive mortality associated with the prevailing “supportive care only” recommendations disseminated by the majority of national and international health care organizations.

Early treatment is critical and the most important factor in managing this disease. COVID-19 is a clinical diagnosis; a confirmed antigen or PCR test is not required. Treatment should be initiated immediately after the onset of flu-like symptoms. The multiple therapies and drugs in this protocol have different mechanisms of action and work synergistically during various phases of the disease.

About this Protocol

The information in this document is our recommended approach to COVID-19 based on the best (and most recent) literature. It is provided as guidance to healthcare providers worldwide on the early treatment of COVID-19. Patients should always consult with their provider before starting any medical treatment.

New medications may be added and/or changes made to doses of existing medications as further evidence emerges. Please be sure you are using the latest version of this protocol.

Note that there are two I-Care Protocols; the I-Care Covid protocol (this article) to treat Covid and another protocol, I-Care Flu protocol; to treat influenza and RSV infections.

The I-Care protocol has been updated and below is their latest version (March 30, 2023). 

First Line Therapies

(In order of priority; not all required.)

  • Ivermectin: 0.4 to 0.6 mg/kg – one dose daily for at least 5 days or until symptoms resolve. If symptoms persist longer than 5 days, consult a healthcare provider. See Table 1 (below) for help with calculating correct dose. Due to a possible interaction between quercetin and ivermectin, these drugs should be staggered throughout the day (see Table 2 below). For COVID treatment, ivermectin is best taken with a meal or just following a meal, for greater absorption.
  • Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ): 200 mg twice a day for 5 to 10 days. Best taken with zinc. HCQ may be taken in place of, or together with, ivermectin. While ivermectin should be avoided in pregnancy, the FDA considers HCQ safe in pregnancy. Given the pathway used by the Omicron variant to gain cell entry, HCQ may be the preferred drug for this variant.
  • Mouthwash: 3 times a day. Gargle three times a day (do not swallow) with an antiseptic-antimicrobial mouthwash containing chlorhexidine, cetylpyridinium chloride (e.g., Scope™, Act™, Crest™), a combination of eucalyptus, menthol, and thymol (Listerine™), or 1% povidone-iodine.
  • Nasal spray with 1% povidone-iodine: 2-3 times a day. Do not use for more than 5 days in pregnancy. If 1% product is not available, dilute the more widely available 10% solution (see box) and apply 4-5 drops to each nostril every 4 hours.
    • Pour 1 ½ tablespoons (25 ml) of 10% povidone-iodine solution into a 250 ml nasal irrigation bottle.
    • Fill bottle to top with distilled, sterile, or previously boiled water.
    • To use: tilt head back, apply 4-5 drops to each nostril. Keep head tilted for a few minutes, then let drain.
  • Quercetin (or a mixed flavonoid supplement): 250-500 mg twice a day. Due to a possible interaction between quercetin and ivermectin, these drugs should not be taken simultaneously (i.e., should be staggered at different times of day.) As supplemental quercetin has poor solubility and low oral absorption, lecithin-based and nanoparticle formulations are preferred.
  • Nigella sativa: If using seeds, take 80 mg/kg once a day (or 400 to 500 mg of encapsulated oil twice a day).
  • Honey: 1 g/kg one to two times a day.
  • Melatonin: 5-10 mg before bedtime (causes drowsiness). Slow- or extended-release formulations preferred.
  • Curcumin (turmeric): 500 mg twice a day. Curcumin has low solubility in water and is poorly absorbed by the body; consequently, it is traditionally taken with full fat milk and black pepper, which enhance its absorption.
  • Zinc: 75-100 mg daily. Take with HCQ. Zinc supplements come in various forms (e.g., zinc sulfate, zinc citrate and zinc gluconate).
  • Aspirin: 325 mg daily (unless contraindicated).
  • Kefir and/or Bifidobacterium Probiotics. Depending on the brand, these products can be very high in sugar, which promotes inflammation. Look for brands without added sugar or fruit jellies and choose products with more than one strain of lactobacillus and bifidobacteria. Try to choose probiotics that are also gluten-free, casein-free and soy-free.
  • Vitamin C: 500-1000 mg twice a day.
  • Home pulse oximeter. Monitoring of oxygen saturation is recommended in symptomatic patients, due to asymptomatic hypoxia. Take multiple readings over the course of the day and regard any downward trend as ominous. Baseline or ambulatory desaturation under 94% should prompt consultation with primary or telehealth provider, or evaluation in an emergency room. (See box for further guidance.)
    • Only accept values associated with a strong pulse signal
    • Observe readings for 30–60 seconds to identify the most common value
    • Warm up extremities prior to taking a measurement
    • Use the middle or ring finger
    • Remove nail polish from the finger on which measurements are made

Second Line Therapies

(In order of priority/importance.)

Add to first line therapies above if: 1) more than 5 days of symptoms; 2) poor response to first line agents; 3) significant comorbidities).

  • Nitazoxanide (NTZ): 500 mg twice a day for 5 days.

  • Vitamin D3: For patients with acute COVID-19 infection, calcifediol as dosed in table below is suggested.

  • B complex vitamins.

  • Fluvoxamine: 25-50 mg twice a day for 1 week.
    NOTE: Due to serious risks of acute anxiety that may progress to mania or suicidal/violent behavior, this drug should not be prescribed for COVID for longer than two weeks.

  • N-acetyl cysteine (NAC): 600-1200 mg orally twice a day.

  • Omega-3 fatty acids: 4 g daily.
    Vascepa (Ethyl eicosapentaenoic acid); Lovaza (EPA/DHA); or alternative DHA/EPA. Vascepa and Lovaza tablets must be swallowed and cannot be crushed, dissolved, or chewed.

Treatment of BA.4/BA.5/BQ.1.1 and XBB1 Variants

Treatment of Current Circulating Omicron variants

Limited data are available on the clinical implications of the current circulating Omicron ‘subvariants’, however these variants have demonstrated ‘neutralization escape’, meaning they have evolved to escape neutralizing antibodies from previous infections or from mRNA injection. Indeed, vaccination appears to be a risk factor for symptomatic disease.

The newer variants seem to differ from previous variants due to the early onset of bacterial pneumonia. While the optimal treatment approach to the symptomatic patient is unclear, it is best to risk-stratify symptomatic patients. Risk factors for hospitalization and death include advanced age (over 60), comorbidities (especially obesity and metabolic syndrome, poor ambulatory status, delayed treatment, high D-dimer), recently vaccinated, and severe symptoms.

High-risk patients should consider:

  • The combination of both HCQ and ivermectin
  • Nattokinase 2000-4000 FU/day for 15 days OR Apixaban 5 mg daily for 15 days OR Rivaroxaban 10 mg daily for 15 days. The escalated use of anticoagulants should only be considered in patients with a low risk of bleeding. Furthermore, the risk of serious bleeding increases as the number of anticoagulant drugs is increased.
  • Spironolactone: 200 mg once daily for 7 days (avoid in patients with impaired renal function)

If symptoms have not markedly improved by day 3 of treatment, one of the following antibiotics should be started. NOTE: providers should prescribe an antibiotic at the first visit.

  • Oral antibiotic:

      • Doxycycline 100 mg twice daily for 5 days (Doxycycline may act synergistically with ivermectin and might be the antibiotic of first choice.); OR
      • Azithromycin (Z-pack) 500 mg day 1, then 250 mg daily for 4 days; OR
      • Amoxicillin/Clavulanate (Augmentin) 500 mg/125 mg tablet twice daily for 7 days.

Hypoxia/shortness of breath: If the patients develop hypoxia or shortness of breath Prednisolone 60 mg daily for 5 days should be prescribed.

About Ivermectin

Ivermectin is a well known, FDA-approved drug that has been used successfully around the world for more than four decades. One of the safest drugs known, it is on the WHO’s list of essential medicines, has been given over 3.7 billion times, and won the Nobel Prize for its global and historic impacts in eradicating endemic parasitic infections in many parts of the world.

To review the totality of supporting evidence for ivermectin in COVID-19, visit our Ivermectin information page.

Ivermectin is a remarkably safe drug with minimal adverse reactions (almost all minor), however its safety in pregnancy has not been definitively established. Talk to your doctor about use in pregnancy, particularly in the first trimester.

Potential drug-drug interactions should be reviewed before prescribing ivermectin.

Ivermectin has been demonstrated to be highly effective against the Omicron variant at a dose of 0.3 to 0.4 mg/kg, when taken early.

Higher doses (0.6 mg/kg) may be required: in regions with more aggressive variants; if treatment starts on or after 5 days of symptoms; in patients in advanced stage of the disease or who have extensive risk factors (i.e., older age, obesity, diabetes, etc.)

Table 1. How to calculate ivermectin dose

Note that ivermectin is available in different strengths (e.g., 3, 6 or 12 mg) and administration forms (tablets, capsules, drops, etc.). Note that tablets can be halved for more accurate dosing, while capsules cannot.

ivermectin dosage by weight

Table 2. Proposed medication schedule for first line treatments

Table 3. A Single-Dose Regimen of Calcifediol to Rapidly Raise Serum 25(OH)D above 50 ng/mL

Ordinary Vitamin D3 Does not work in Acute Illness

According to this webinar (below) by Dr Pierre Kory and Dr. Keith Berkowitz:

Video time from 11:30 - 12:30: 

Vitamin D3 (ordinary form) does not work in acute illness. It doesn't become active for at least a week... Vitamin D3 is for prevention and you should continue to take it if your levels are below 50 ng/ml...

There is only one form of vitamin D that will have an acute impact and that is calcifediol (vitamin D3 analog).

d.velop Vitamin D Supplements 2400 IU, 20 mcg – High Potency Vitamin D3

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Calcifediol, the form of vitamin D in d.velop, doesn’t need to be processed by the liver, it can be absorbed right into the bloodstream and throughout your body. That's why calcifediol is 3x more effective for raising vitamin D levels when compared to regular vitamin D on an equal microgram (mcg) basis.

To find a list of physicians who follow the protocols and provide in-office and telehealth services: List of Doctors that will prescribe I-Care Protocol.

To find a list of pharmacist: List of Pharmacies that will fill Ivermectin.

COVID-19 is a highly dynamic topic. Please refer to the latest FLCCC I-CARE protocol (constantly updated).

Other Potential Treatments

For other potential treatments for COVID-19, check out c19early.com (constantly updated).

Conclusion and Key Takeaway

If you are an average layperson, you will likely find this protocol overwhelming. This is a guide and may need to be personalized according to your unique situation. Always see or talk to your doctor before taking these drugs, supplements and over the counter products. 

Be aware that most of the 'treatment' doses for supplements are above the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) and therefore such doses should not be maintained on a long term basis. 

This guide may not be the answer to everything but it could be everything to you or your loved ones.


  • Dosages for supplements: Be aware that most supplements have two categories of doses i.e. treatment (therapeutic dosages are normally higher than the RDA dosages) and 'maintenance' or 'preventive' doses that are based on the recommended daily value.
  • Duration for supplements: Most supplements (e.g. vitamin D, zinc, quercetin) for early treatment are given for 5 - 10 days. To continue for preventive purposes, dosages will need to be reduced as per the prevention or prophylaxis protocol.
  • You should ideally supplement your micro-nutrients from healthy and wholesome foods, fruits and vegetables.
  • Although ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine are relatively safe drugs, they are still synthetic chemicals that can have side effects. Vitamin D, C, Zinc and Quercetin are nutrients that your body require for optimal health. Nutrients are safer alternatives especially if your risk is low e.g. age below 50 and no other chronic illness. Discuss with your doctor on the benefit vs risk for each treatment. If you are on multiple medications, be aware of supplement-drug interactions that might enhance the possibilities of adverse effects.
  • Nutritional supplements are meant to tip the scales in favour of you in terms of your immune system and to improve your probability of a smooth recovery, if at all you do get COVID-19. 
  • Please do not consider these protocols as personal medical advice, but as a recommendation for use by professional providers. Consult with your doctor, share the information on this website and discuss with her/him.
  • We are fans and affiliates of FLCCC. We do not represent FLCCC. Any opinions are our own.
  • Always see or talk to your doctor before taking these drugs, supplements and over the counter products. Be aware that most of the 'treatment' dosages are above the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) and therefore such dosages should not be maintained on a long term basis. 
  • The early treatment protocol protocol is a bridge to vaccines and a safety net for those who cannot or have not been vaccinated; or are vaccinated and have concerns regarding declining protection against emerging variants. Vaccines have shown efficacy in preventing the most severe outcomes of COVID-19 and are an important part of a multi-modal strategy that must also include early treatment. The decision to get a vaccine should be made in consultation with your health care provider. 
  • You still need to follow the advice given by CDC, WHO and your local authority in terms of local guidelines such as mask wearing, social distancing, vaccination and avoiding crowds. It's better to combine multiple strategies in order to defend yourself against this virus.
  • According to US NIH: "...Guidelines should not be considered mandates. The choice of what to do or not to do for an individual patient is ultimately decided by the patient and their provider."

Z-Stack Supplement

In an effort to make it easier for patients, Dr Zelenko has developed an oral supplement that contains all four key ingredients: vitamin C, quercetin, vitamin D3 and zinc. It’s referred to as 'Z-Stack Supplement.
Z-Stack Vitamin cocktail provides key ingredients needed in order to help your body fight off this deadly invader. The Z-Stack Vitamins are Kosher certified, GMP certified and made in the USA.

The cost of the Z-STACK vitamin cocktail is $55 per bottle for a one month supply.

Where to buy Z-Stack: Z-stack is available on Dr Zelenko's website. Here is the link: Z Stack Supplement.

Note: To get 5% OFF, please use this coupon code: DRFRANCIS



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