Remdesivir Available for Outpatient Use to Treat COVID-19
By Sean Price

The antiviral medication remdesivir is now available for outpatient use in combating COVID-19, and the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) has sent a letter to COVID therapeutic administrators explaining how they can order the medication from the state’s distributor. 

Remdesivir, also known by the brand name Veklury, had previously been in short supply and was available only in hospitals. In January, the Food and Drug Administration expanded the emergency use authorization for remdesivir to include outpatient settings. 

“We have been assured by the federal partners on the calls that they don’t have concern about supply,” said Manda Hall, MD, DSHS associate commissioner of community health improvement. 

The improved outpatient availability is important because a recent study showed a three-day course of remdesivir greatly reduces the risk of hospitalization after a COVID-19 infection, says San Antonio infectious disease specialist Jan E. Patterson, MD, a member of the Texas Medical Association’s COVID-19 Task Force. 

However, other difficulties remain in getting remdesivir to the patients who need it most, according to a December 2021 editorial in the New England Journal of Medicine.

The primary difficulty is that remdesivir is an intravenous medication that has to be administered over three consecutive days, requiring “multiple health care interactions,” the editorial says. Access to and uptake of single-dose monoclonal antibodies has been challenging, so a three-day course of remdesivir is likely to be more difficult. 

“The problem is that because it’s IV and because these patients have COVID, it’s not easy to give this [on an outpatient basis],” Dr. Patterson said. 

Some Texas physicians and local officials have encouraged the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to allow regional infusion centers that provide monoclonal antibody treatments to also provide remdesivir, Dr. Patterson says. So far, HHS has not done so.

Last Updated On

April 05, 2022

Originally Published On

February 23, 2022

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Sean Price

Reporter

(512) 370-1392

Sean Price is a reporter for Texas Medicine and Texas Medicine Today. He grew up in Fort Worth and graduated from the University of Texas at Austin. He's worked as an award-winning writer and editor for a variety of national magazine, book, and website publishers in New York and Washington. He's also helped produce Texas-based marketing campaigns designed to promote public health. Sean lives in Austin and enjoys hiking, photography, and spending time with his wife and two sons.

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