Important Information About New Outpatient Treatment Options for COVID-19
As COVID-19 cases begin to increase again in the region, new outpatient treatment options are available that may lessen the severity of infection and reduce patients’ chances of being hospitalized or dying from the virus. VHAN encourages its members and their staff to learn more about these options to help educate themselves, their family members and their patients about their availability. Making use of these treatment options will be powerful in keeping COVID-positive patients out of the hospital, ensuring beds remain available for patients needing care of all kinds.
There are now several treatments available for people who test positive for COVID-19 and are at high risk of getting serious symptoms, including older adults (ages 50 years or older), people who are unvaccinated and people with certain medical conditions, such as a weakened immune system. Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) has shared some helpful videos about these new treatment options that are publicly available for VHAN members, including an in-depth discussion with infectious disease pharmacist Ben Ereshefsky, PharmD, and an interview with chief epidemiologist Tom Talbot, MD.
Here is more information about these treatments:
An antiviral treatment used in adults and children ages 12 years and older, Paxlovid is taken at home by mouth. It should be started as soon as possible after confirmed positivity and symptom onset. Treatment must begin within 5 days of when COVID symptoms start.
Paxlovid interacts with some medications (such as certain cholesterol-lowering, blood thinning and immune suppressing medications), so clinicians should consider any contraindications prior to prescribing to assess if medication adjustment or alternative COVID-19 treatments are necessary.
Paxlovid requires a prescription. Any licensed health care clinician can prescribe the medication, but it is only available at certain pharmacies. Pharmacies and health care facilities with Paxlovid and other outpatient COVID-19 therapies may be found using the COVID-19 Therapeutics Locator (Note: If Paxlovid is available based on the link above, we recommend calling the pharmacy to confirm availability as inventory constantly changes.)
Monoclonal Antibody Infusions
For those who cannot take Paxlovid, the monoclonal antibody infusions for COVID-19 remain an option. This treatment is used in high-risk adults and children ages 12 years and older. These infusions are only available in specialized clinics, and treatment with a monoclonal antibody must be given within 10 days of when COVID-19 symptoms start .
Another antiviral medication for COVID-19 named Lagevrio is available for adults, 18 years and older. It is taken at home by mouth. It should be started as soon as possible after confirmed positivity and symptom onset. Treatment must begin within 5 days of symptoms onset. Pharmacies and health care facilities with Lagevrio and other outpatient COVID-19 therapies may be found using the COVID-19 Therapeutics Locator.