COVID-19 Monoclonal Antibody Treatment
Lee Health has currently exhausted its supply of the drugs used in monoclonal antibody (MAB) treatments. We will resume MAB treatment when we receive additional doses.
If you are currently COVID-positive patient, ask your doctor if monoclonal antibody treatment is right for you.
What are monoclonal antibodies?
Monoclonal antibodies are produced in a laboratory. They serve as substitute antibodies that help our immune systems mimic the defense of natural COVID-19 antibodies. Currently, Lee Health is using the monoclonal antibody Casirivimab/Imdevimab (Regeneron) to treat certain COVID-19 patients.
How can I receive monoclonal antibody treatment?
Currently, Lee Health is utilizing monoclonal antibody treatment for COVID-19 patients who have mild-to-moderate symptoms and are at high risk of developing severe symptoms or the need for hospitalization.
A physician referral is required for monoclonal antibody treatment, and the patient must have a positive COVID-19 test, be in their first seven (7) days of showing symptoms and meet certain risk factors as required by the FDA.
If you are a COVID-positive patient and are interested in receiving monoclonal antibody treatment, speak with your doctor to see if it is right for you.
How is monoclonal antibody treatment administered?
Monoclonal antibodies are administered via an IV infusion in an outpatient setting. The treatment typically lasts about two and a half hours. Lee Health is performing these infusions 7-days per week at the following locations:
Complex Care Center at Lee Memorial Hospital
2776 Cleveland Ave, Ft. Myers, FL 33901
Complex Care Center at Coconut Point
23450 Via Coconut Point, Estero, FL 33928
Complex Care Center at Cape Coral Hospital
708 Del Prado Blvd S, Cape Coral, FL 33990
Antibody Treatment for Covid Patients
Regeneron is the medicine that we're here to talk about today. It is a medicine offered under an emergency use authorization by the FDA which means it's not fully FDA approved yet, but it is still in the testing phase has its being approved for emergency use because of the severity of the pandemic. And it does have some initial safety and and Effectiveness data to be given to the general public, the medicine works by targeting the covid. Virus Spike protein. This is the protein that the virus uses. Has to get into our cells and make us sick. And this medicine is is a collection of antibodies that binds to those Spike proteins and in activates them so that it can no longer make you sick. It does need to be given within the first 10 days of treatment in order to be effective and your doctor will talk to you about whether you qualify for that during the discussion. Later on regeneron is a medicine that works kind of similar to the vaccines. It is not a replacement for for a vaccine, but if you do get sick If you're vaccinated or unvaccinated, this medicine can be used to help you get better from covid. The benefits of regeneron are that mainly that it prevents severe disease. They showed in the study that they completed for regeneron, that it was able to decrease hospitalizations by approximately 70% in patients, that received for gender on It doesn't take away all of your symptoms. You can expect that they will be lessened, and that you will improve a little bit faster. But the main point is to try and decrease your chance of developing severe disease defined as the need for oxygen therapy, which would lead to a hospitalization and that is effective out to 28 days. The possible side effects of Regina round. Don't worry. There's not too many. It is, of course, possible to have allergic reactions. That's what everyone's worried about when they get a new medication, but this medicine has Only be fairly safe in the initial study. They had thirteen thousand participants and they were only two reported allergic reactions at the recording of this video. Lea Health has given about 1600 injections and we have had about two reported allergic reactions and they were mild in the people went home, the same day other symptoms reported for the regeneron infusion. We're very similar to the covid virus itself. So things like fever, chills, nausea. Vomiting loss of taste and smell and those are all attributed. More to the Virus itself not to the treatment other potential side effects include the possibility of infusion site reactions because it isn't either an infusion or an injection. And because we do use a needle to access the vein that can cause pain bleeding or bruising, but that's very uncommon. And in my opinion, not a reason to refuse this medication. It is also possible that you could have a post in fusion reaction and this happens in about 1/3 to 1/2 of patients. It's very hard to predict who this will happen, too. So we try to educate every patient about the possibility. This could happen and it's not a concerning problem, as long as you can control the symptoms. So the post in fusion reaction, generally comes on about three hours after you getting getting the medication. And What patients experience is a slight increase in their symptoms lasting for a few hours to maybe overnight. So I usually tell people that day 0 or the day that you got the infusion, maybe a little bit more uncomfortable, but on subsequent days, you feel better. Better and better and better. The medicine to use for these symptoms would be mainly Tylenol and if it's safe for you to take, according to your other medical problems, you could also use ibuprofen. It is safe to take those two medications together, but you should always take ibuprofen with food and not on an empty stomach regeneron is administered. One of two ways from Lee Health. We currently have the option of getting an IV infusion. This is a medicine that would be given in someone's vain in their arm through an IV. Just very similar to getting a bag of fluid or IV. Antibiotics the alternative method of receiving this medication is at the health department injection site, and they would be giving the same medication with the same total dose spread out over four, different injection sites, one in each arm and one on either side of the belly or one on either side of the buttocks, all at the same time in order to complete the treatment protocol. All of these treatments are completed in one event. So if you receive the infusion, In from Lee Health. It is treated is completed in one event. You do not treated multiple times. And if you're treated at the health department location, you get all four injections at one event. The infusion does take about 3 hours to complete. The medicine itself is infused over 20 to 30 minutes. However, the time to set up and get everything ready and then monitor you afterwards, totals about three hours. The injection site Clinic is currently taking about two hours to complete because Takes time again to get set up to administer. The injections is fairly quick. And then we monitor you for an hour afterwards as well at that location. I like to describe what I call the immune consideration of the medications and this is basically how you deal with a vaccine if you do get this medication because this medicine is so similar in appearance to the body to the vaccine. You need to be cautious. If you do get this medication your recommended not to get a covid-19 vaccine for three months or 90 days. As it's not that it would hurt you to get the vaccine early, but because it looks so similar, you would get a sub optimal result from the vaccine. Additionally. If you are due for a booster shot after getting this medication, I would still advise you to wait. 90 days before getting your booster shot again, because the booster shot looks so similar to the regeneron. We want your body to get the best reaction possible from the vaccine or the booster shot. So, I would wait the 90 days if you choose to not receive this medication, you can still be vaccinated. And the recommendation at this time, is to be vaccinated two weeks after you're feeling better and recovered from covid. The only contraindications for treatment would be. If you do not want to take the medication. We're not going to give it to anyone who does not agree with the treatment. Additionally, if you are requiring more than your typical oxygen or if you are not usually requiring oxygen and covid is causing you to require oxygen, then that would indicate that you've progressed to severe disease and you Would be treated in emergency department or in one of our local hospitals and we would assist with that transfer, and treatment regeneron does show to be safe for patients with kidney disease. And we have treated patients who have kidney disease all the way up to end-stage renal disease on dialysis and they have tolerated it. Well regeneron is not well studied, as of yet in patients, with liver disease, but similar medications in the past, have not hurt, people's livers and regeneron. At this time is assumed to be safe for patients with Disease, let's talk about the cost of the medication for just a moment. Regeneron at present is paid for by the federal government and shouldered by the taxpayers. So this medication cost will not be passed on to you for the medicine itself. If you are in treated at Lee Health, there is a possibility of receiving a cost for the act of the infusion and that's dependent on your insurance, your deductibles and your copay. For the year. If you do have any questions, the best answer is to get scheduled and call your insurance company. Company to ask for the copay amount for treatment with regeneron. Now, if you are treated at the injection site from the state Clinic, there is no cost associated with that, that is completely paid for by the state government. I would like to answer. Some frequently asked questions that I have been asked over the past few months while administering this therapy and then you can ask any further detail or questions to the telemedicine provider whenever you get on the call. So again, this is a single treatment, a single infusion, or a single series of injections. You should take all of your home meds as normal on the day of the infusion. Unless there's another reason, there's no need to adjust for this medication. You're not being enrolled in a study by taking this medication. This medication does not change your quarantine period. You stay in the quarantine until your symptom free for at least three days. There's no incentive for Physicians or providers to get you to say. Yes, for this medication. There is no pressure from Lee Health to take this medication. The medication does not impair your ability to drive. So as long as you're safe to drive to the visit, then you are considered. To drive home as long as nothing changes because you're covid, Paula, positive, and it's Hospital policy. You're not able to have any visitors during the infusion. We do have several in fusion centers where you could be treated. It's advised to take the first available location. We do have a center in Cape, Coral down in Estero. At Coconut Point facility. And then up at the main hospital at Lee Memorial, for those of you that need it, there is Wi-Fi available so that you can occupy your time while you're waiting for the infusion to complete. And for, for Lee Health, employees that At are being referred for this consultation. I do like to point out that there is no pressure from Lee Health to take this medication just because you referred from Lee from employee health does not mean that you need to take this to return to work and it has no bearing on your work status at Lee Health. This is simply offered as a treatment just as it would be for anyone else. So this is one of the more difficult parts of this conversation. Your doctor has referred you over because you are pregnant with covid-19. I'd like to advise patients to do some reading on their own. In order to try and satisfy your own questions and the best place to get additional information is from the ACOG website, ACOG stands for American College of osteopathic and gynecologic Physicians. And this is the Premier place to get information about pregnancy and pregnancy, related problems in the United States. We have discussed this treatment with the local obstetrician groups and the general consensus by between information from what is available on a cog. And the local groups is that Covid is trending worse in a pregnant patient. The recommendation is to consider treatment with monoclonal antibodies. Now. This does come with the caveat that there is no formal testing for pregnant patients. And that is not likely to be a study that is discretely completed because of the nature of pregnancy. However, if we weigh the risks and benefits it is best to choose the lesser of two evils in some cases. And if you're getting worse with covid, we do need to to protect you and And the baby from increasing complications related to covid itself. So the position of the local Physicians as well as a cog is to recommend that if there is a progression towards severe disease to consider monoclonal antibody treatment. It is generally considered to be safe. But there is no discrete data again to prove that it is safe. I know, there's no way to take away all the fear of receiving a new medication, but we need to weigh the risks and benefits between worsening covid. Regeneron. And I do want to let you know that we have treated patients who are pregnant and covid, positive. They have tolerated the medication. Well, so the goal is to prevent worsening covid, especially if you have multiple risk factors that make you high risk. According to the EU, a associated with pregnancy. Those people do have worse outcomes. So the recommendation is to consider treatment, I would like you to take the time to go on the ACOG website. And the easiest way to find that Google Acog regeneron. On and look for the frequently asked questions page from the ACOG website. They have information about pre and post, partum care and Associate question. Associated questions with covid-19 illness all through pregnancy. I would encourage you to read their and satisfy your own concerns before accepting treatment. When you get on the telemedicine call the provider can try and answer any additional questions you have. But another option is to discuss as well with your obstetrician before moving forward.
Pages in this section
- COVID-19 Monoclonal Antibody Treatment
- Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information for Volunteers
- COVID-19 Asked and Answered
- Community COVID-19 Testing Sites
- Lee Health COVID-19 Vaccine
- Lee Health COVID-19 Vaccine Updates
- Lee Health Mask Up
- Lee Health: A Year of Challenge and Triumph
- Mobile Pediatric Vaccination Clinic
- Schedule a COVID-19 Vaccine Appointment (Adult)
- Schedule a COVID-19 Vaccine Appointment (Age 5-17)