There are no specific medicines used to treat mono. Over-the-counter medicines may be used to help treat the symptoms of mono.
Over-the-counter pain relievers, including acetaminophen (such as Tylenol) and ibuprofen (such as Advil), may be used to relieve headaches and a sore throat. Do not give aspirin to anyone under the age of 20, because its use has been linked with Reye syndrome, a serious illness.
In severe cases, corticosteroids may be used to reduce swelling of the throat, tonsils, or spleen.
Taking antibiotics such as amoxicillin or ampicillin may cause a rash in many people who have mono.1 A rash caused by antibiotics can often be a first sign that the person has mono. The rash is not an allergic reaction.2
Antiviral drugs do not improve the symptoms of mono or shorten the length of the illness.4
What to think about
Nonprescription medicines are commonly used to relieve symptoms, but they do not shorten the duration of the illness.