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Monoclonal Antibody Therapy

  • You tested POSITIVE for COVID-19… Now What?
  • One option is mono-clonal antibodies which decrease likelihood of severe symptoms that may otherwise require hospitalization.
  • If you test positive for COVID-19, one of the first questions you may have is, What can I do to reduce the risk of getting sicker? The good news is, there are treatments that may reduce that risk. Depending on your age, health history, and length of COVID-19 symptoms, you may qualify monoclonal antibody (mAb) treatment.
  • Early evidence suggests that mAb treatment reduces the amount of the SARS-CoV-2 virus (the virus that causes COVID-19) in a person's system. This amount is known as viral load. Having a lower viral load means you may have milder symptoms.
  • mAb treatment may help people who:
  • * Have a positive COVID-19 test, and had symptoms for 10 days or less.
  • * Are at high risk of getting more serious symptoms
  • * Have been directly exposed to someone that has COVID-19 and is at high risk of having serious symptoms. E.g., people that are over 65 years old, chronic lung disease, certain diabetics, low immune systems, etc. Ask your pharmacist for more details if you think you may qualify for mAb therapy.
  • WHAT IS A MONOCLONAL ANTIBODY?
  • Your body naturally makes antibodies to fight infection. However, your body may not have antibodies designed to recognize a novel (or new) virus like SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Monoclonal antibodies, or mAb, are not new and are made to fight a particular infection, in this case, SARS-CoV-2. They are given to patients directly with an infusion or injection. That’s why mAb treatment may help patients who are at high risk for serious symptoms.
  • mAb treatment for COVID-19 is different from a COVID-19 vaccine. A vaccine triggers your body’s natural immune response, but can take weeks to develop enough antibodies and prevent some kinds of infection. Vaccines for COVID-19 require multiple shots so your body can develop its own immune response to the disease. But if you already have the virus, mAb treatment gives your body the antibodies it needs to protect itself.
  • How can I get monoclonal antibody therapy?
  • 1. Test Positive for COVID-19
  • 2. Fill out a consent to treat form
  • 3. Be evaluated for qualification by one our pharmacists
  • • There is no cost to anyone for the antibodies, but there are treatment fees. We will let you know what your cost will be before we administer the mAb. Some insurances may not cover the treatment fee as a pharmacy benefit and you may have to submit a claim to your medical insurance. Either way, don’t delay based on insurance coverage, because timing is important and the sooner you get the mAbs the better.
  • WHAT CAN I EXPECT FROM TREATMENT?
  • We administer mAb treatment via subcutaneous (small needle under the skin) injection. There are 4 injections, preferably in the abdomen, but other available sites are in the flank of the back just above the pelvic line or back of arm. The process of the injection only takes a few minutes, but you will need to remain onsite 1 hour for evaluation. First, we will conduct a screening. Second, we will swab the area(s) with an alcohol swab and give the injections. Finally, you will stay in your vehicle for an hour of evaluation for possible allergic reaction or other side effects. These reactions are rare, but the staff must observe you for this hour. You will be given a portable “call button” should you require immediate assistance. Please note that all treatment will be in your vehicle and that public restrooms are not available. We will check on your status every 10 to 15 minutes. After 1 hour you’ll be released to go home if there are no medical issues after a final assessment.
  • After Treatment:
  • It’s important to know that even if you start feeling better, you are still contagious and can still spread the virus for a while. You’ll need to isolate yourself (be alone) until all of these things happen:
  • 1. At least 10 days have passed since your first symptoms of COVID-19
  • 2. No fever for 24 hours without taking medicine to reduce fever
  • 3. Your other symptoms of COVID-19 are improving.
  • 4. IMPORTANT: Follow your healthcare provider’s instructions. Your personal health history may require you to meet additional conditions. Also, if you start to feel worse, don’t hesitate to seek immediate medical care.
  • CAN ANTIBODY TREATMENT MAKE ME SICK?
  • Antibody treatments don’t contain any live SARS-CoV-2, so there’s no risk you’ll get COVID-19 from mAb treatment. However, antibody treatment may have side effects:
  • * Allergic reactions can happen during and after an antibody injection. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you get any of the following signs and symptoms of allergic reactions: fever; chills; nausea; headache; shortness of breath; low blood pressure; wheezing; swelling of your lips, face, or throat; rash, including hives; itching; muscle aches; and/or dizziness.
  • * An infusion or injection of any medicine may cause brief pain, bleeding, bruising of the skin, soreness, swelling, and possible infection at the infusion site.
  • These are not all the possible side effects of antibody treatment. Serious and unexpected side effects may happen. Some possible risks from antibody treatment are:
  • * It may interfere with your body's ability to fight off a future infection of SARS-CoV-2.
  • * It may reduce your body’s immune response to a vaccine for SARS-CoV-2.
  • Monoclonal Antibody treatments for COVID-19, like other treatments authorized for emergency use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, are still being studied. As researchers continue to study the virus and mAb treatments, we’ll learn more about these possible risks. If you have any questions, please talk with your healthcare provider.
  • Contact the pharmacy for more information at 706-695-0444. Please do not send emails or post on Facebook if you are interested or have questions, we will not able to acknowledge or return your message.