Question: Does the hospital have a treatment regimen for COVID-19 positive patients who weather the disease at home: For instance, Remdesiver and anti-clotting meds?
Drugs for COVID-19 are changing almost daily. Some that started out strong for characteristics that would impact the virus itself are no longer recommended including hydroxychloroquine and zinc sulfate. Azithromycin, an antibiotic, is not used for the virus (antibiotics do not affect viruses) but it is used with another antibiotic for an underlying pneumonia, caused by bacteria, that may be diagnosed as well.
Remdesivir is a new anti-viral drug that works for other types of viruses too. With the novel coronavirus, it has reduced the time it takes to recover from the disease. Remdesevir, however, is reserved for severely ill patients with COVID-19 who need to be in the hospital and need oxygen, if not a respirator. Also, because it is given intravenously, it is not an ideal candidate for people who are recovering at home.
An older drug, dexamethasone, actually reduces deaths in those who are severely ill and need to be in the hospital getting oxygen. It is available as a tablet but again, its focus is for patients in the hospital. Anti-clotting agents are used more on an as-needed basis rather than for routine treatment. Any decision to use these drugs would need to be coordinated with your doctor.
There are a number of studies going on around the world to identify drugs that can reduce the chance of death from COVID-19 and decrease the time it takes to get over the disease. Some studies focus on the disease, others focus on affecting the virus. Results are reported almost daily.
We are ready to provide the appropriate medication for each patient who is in the hospital here. Researchers at the University of Alabama, Huntsville, have found 125 naturally-occurring agents that are expected to affect the novel coronavirus with more results to follow.
The best advice at this time for care at home is to treat the symptoms and be on the alert for any symptoms that get worse, especially difficulty breathing. If that is the case, we will see you at the clinic or the Emergency Department of the hospital!
Janet Schade, MS, RPh
Director of Pharmacy
Forks Community Hospital