FORT WAYNE, Ind. (ADAMS) – Parkview Health has updated its outpatient treatment options for patients with COVID-19, based on efficacy and availability of medications.
With recent guidance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Parkview says it is now administering remdesivir as an outpatient antiviral treatment to prevent hospitalization for qualifying COVID-positive patients. Remdesivir was previously only available to hospitalized patients.
Unlike monoclonal antibody treatment, which is administered in one dose, remdesivir requires three doses, one dose per day on three consecutive days. To accommodate the additional infusions, Parkview says it has opened a larger infusion clinic on the Parkview Regional Medical Center campus. Infusions may also be available in Parkview community hospital emergency departments; due to continued high emergency department volumes, infusions at community hospitals will be subject to availability.
In addition to offering remdesivir, Parkview has updated its use of monoclonal antibodies, based on guidance from the FDA and the Indiana Department of Health (IDOH). The health system has discontinued use of bamlanivimab/etesevimab and casirivimab/imdevimab, which are shown to be ineffective in treatment of the omicron variant of COVID-19.
Parkview will continue to offer sotrovimab, which is currently the only monoclonal antibody treatment shown to be effective against the omicron strain. Because availability of this treatment is much more limited than the two discontinued options, the IDOH is allocating a small, weekly supply to hospitals across the state.
Parkview Health released the following:
“For the health of the communities we serve, it is important to make these treatments available and help at-risk patients avoid severe COVID-19 that could result in hospitalization or even death,” said Chris Jellison, vice president, pharmacy, Parkview Health. “We are grateful for the world-class teamwork of our pharmacy, infusion, informatics and emergency department teams, who together have administered more than 17,000 monoclonal antibody infusions since November of 2020. By offering the most up-to-date treatment options on a large scale, we can continue helping people avoid severe disease progression and reduce potential hospitalizations across the region.”
Sotrovimab and remdesivir infusions are available by referral only. To be eligible for treatment, patients must be age 12 or older, have a positive test for COVID-19 with mild to moderate symptoms, be within seven days of the onset of their symptoms and be considered high risk for progression to severe disease.
Patients must be seen by a healthcare provider to determine whether they meet the specific criteria for referral to the infusion clinic. Individuals referred from outside of Parkview may need to be re-evaluated by a Parkview provider to ensure they qualify. Upon receiving a provider referral, patients will be given more details about the infusion process and location.
Monoclonal antibody infusions, including sotrovimab, are supplied by the federal government at no cost to patients. It’s important to note that remdesivir is not a monoclonal antibody treatment, but rather an antiviral treatment, and is not supplied by the government. Most insurance providers have indicated they will cover remdesivir as an outpatient treatment. Patients are encouraged to contact their insurance provider to determine their specific coverage benefits.
Two oral antiviral medications, Paxlovid and molnupirivir, were also recently approved for outpatient treatment of COVID-19. At this time, supplies of these oral medications are extremely limited and are not expected to be widely available until later this year.
Despite the number of treatment options available, providers stress that vaccination remains the best option for reducing the risk of severe disease, hospitalization or death from COVID-19.
“Vaccines are truly the best option we have available to protect the health and well-being of our community,” said Jeffrey Boord, MD, MPH, chief quality and safety officer, Parkview Health. “If you are already vaccinated, please also ensure you receive your booster vaccine when eligible. Vaccines are available at the Parkview COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic and most retail pharmacies in our region.”
For more information, including answers to frequently asked questions about COVID-19 vaccines, visit parkview.com/covidvaccine.