COVID-19 treatments and medications - Albuquerque Journal

COVID-19 treatments and medications

Know someone who has recently tested positive with COVID-19? Heard stories of one person in a household testing positive and everyone else getting it? Or no one else in the household testing positive. Heard of experiences of mild symptoms, or of symptoms start mild and then the person is hospitalized? The individual experiences vary. COVID-19 is still with us.

According to the CDC, the Omicron variant spreads more easily than earlier variants of the virus that cause COVID-19, including the Delta variant. CDC expects that anyone with Omicron infection, regardless of vaccination status or whether or not they have symptoms, can spread the virus to others. Data suggests that Omicron can reinfect individuals, even if they have recently recovered from COVID-19.

Omicron infection generally causes less severe disease than infection with prior variants. Data suggest that Omicron may cause more mild disease, although some people may still have severe disease, need hospitalization, and could die from the infection with this variant.

Transmission levels

Based upon the latest posting though August 8, 2022, all of New Mexico is identified as high transmission.

Who is at high risk for serious COVID-19?

CDC website, information for adults. Information regarding COVID-19 and children is available at the CDC website.

The most common reasons to be considered a higher risk of more serious symptoms of COVID-19 are:

• 65 years or older

• Cancer

• Cerebrovascular disease

• Chronic kidney disease

• Chronic lung diseases

• Chronic liver diseases

• Cystic fibrosis

• Diabetes mellitus, type 1 and 2

• Disabilities

• Heart conditions (such as heart failure, coronary artery disease, or cardiomyopathies)

• HIV (human immunodeficiency virus)

• Immunocompromised condition or weakened immune system

• Mental health disorders

• Neurologic conditions limited to dementia

• Obesity (BMI ≥30 kg/m2)

• Primary Immunodeficiencies

• Pregnancy and recent pregnancy

• Physical inactivity

• Smoking, current and former

• Solid organ or hematopoietic cell transplantation

• Tuberculosis

• Use of corticosteroids or other immunosuppressive medications

If you have a positive COVID-19 test, discuss the results and your health conditions with your healthcare provider.

COVID-19 treatments and medications

If you test positive and are more likely to get very sick from COVID-19, treatments are available that can reduce your chances of being hospitalized or dying from the disease. Medications to treat COVID-19 must be prescribed by a health care provider and started as soon as possible after diagnosis to be effective. Contact a health care provider right away to determine if you are eligible for treatment, even if your symptoms are mild right now. Treatment must be started within days of when you first develop symptoms to be effective.

National Institutes of Health COVID-19 Treatment Guidelines.

Therapeutic management of nonhospitalized adults with COVID-19.

For Patients Who Are at High Risk of Progressing to Severe COVID-19b

Preferred therapies. Listed in order of preference:

• Ritonavir-boosted nirmatrelvir (Paxlovid)

• Remdesivir

Other options may be considered with your health care provider.

The NM Department of Health (NMDOH) website has a section on treatments. The links include:

• Find a COVID Treatment Provider or Pharmacy in New Mexico. (The list is provided by ZIP Code.)

• Oral Treatment information

• Monoclonal Antibody Treatments

Or call for COVID-19 related questions: 1-855-600-3453

Local responses

The provider groups that were contacted reiterated the guidance from the NMDOH and CDC. A positive home test being adequate for starting the assessment.

Current patients of Lovelace should contact their provider to discuss treatment. New patients may sign up for a telehealth visit.

Optum replied that testing needs after a positive home test are determined on a case-by-case basis as is the need for an appointment. Contact your primary care provider.

Presbyterian recommended those with positive test and experiencing symptoms to contact their primary care provider by phone or MyChart. Evaluation and treatment could depend on the needs of the patient.

Along the same lines, UNM Health said patients can reach out to their primary care provider in order to obtain treatment.

If you have a positive test

Contact your health care provider. Isolate, mask when around others. Rest, stay hydrated and consider treating symptoms with over-the-counter methods such as cold and pain relievers.

• Stay home for 5 days. If you have a fever stay home until your fever is gone for 24 hours.

• If you have no symptoms after 5 days, wear a mask when you leave your home for 5 more days.

• Tell those you had recent close contact with that you tested positive.

Be your own best health care advocate. Ask questions. Call back until you get an answer. If you were doing this for your family or friend, you would not give up until you had a response. Do the same for yourself.

Sources: Who’s at high risk for serious COVID-19? Possible treatment options for COVID-19? COVID-19 Treatments and Medications. NM Department of Health, COVID-19 in New Mexico.

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