Stay on Top of Treatment Options for COVID-19

You'll continue to see updates on COVID-19 treatments.

Anecdotal and observational data are making headlines...often without peer review. But these results don't paint the whole picture...and often downplay risks. Plus no treatment is FDA-approved.

Save the chart, COVID-19 and Pharmacotherapy, as a "Favorite" on our website...to get periodic updates on efficacy, side effects, etc.

Here's a quick overview of what we know, for now.

Remdesivir study results are mixed. Evidence suggests it shortens recovery by a few days...but so far, it doesn't improve mortality.

Continue to enroll patients in a remdesivir trial if able.

Otherwise, FDA has an "emergency use authorization" (EUA). But hospitals are at the mercy of the government to allot doses.

If your hospital receives doses, they likely won't be enough to treat all EUA-eligible patients. Work with your specialists to create criteria...it's too soon to say how best to prioritize.

For example, some hospitals are saving remdesivir for mechanically ventilated patients...while others are targeting patients with recent symptom onset who require oxygen.

You may have powder or liquid remdesivir vials. Prep adult doses with either one. But don't use the liquid for peds under 40 kg...it has a higher amount of an excipient than the powder vial.

Stay alert for confusing remdesivir labels. Some only display the concentration...and not the total amount of drug in the vial.

Add labels with bar codes to scan...and update smart pumps.

Hydroxychloroquine data for treating COVID-19 are looking grim.

There's no proof of benefit...and risks are mounting, including QT prolongation and arrhythmias.

Expect more hospitals will remove hydroxychloroquine from treatment protocols...and restrict use to clinical trials.

COVID-19 convalescent plasma will continue getting press. It contains antibodies from recovered COVID-19 patients. Very limited evidence suggests improvements in outcomes for severe COVID-19.

Be aware, it's not standardized...since the plasma comes from donors with varying antibody levels.

See our chart for famotidine, ribavirin, IL-6 inhibitors and more...and find additional guidance in our COVID-19 Resource Hub.

Key References

  • N Engl J Med Published online May 22, 2020; doi:10.1056/NEJMoa2007764
  • Lancet Published online May 22, 2020; doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(20)31180-6
  • https://covid19treatmentguidelines.nih.gov/ (6-1-20)
  • www.fda.gov/vaccines-blood-biologics/investigational-new-drug-ind-or-device-exemption-ide-process-cber/recommendations-investigational-covid-19-convalescent-plasma (6-1-20)
  • www.uscovidplasma.org/ (6-1-20)
Hospital Pharmacist's Letter. June 2020, No. 360603



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