Treatments are available for COVID-19

Though ivermectin helps to treat certain infections caused by parasites, there is no evidence that it helps treat COVID-19.

Several large studies, including this one published in The New England Journal of Medicine (http://ow.ly/phwP50JGgjq), found that ivermectin did not lower rates of hospital admission or provide other benefits in treatment of COVID-19.

Worse yet, ivermectin can make some people sick. Symptoms include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, headache, blurred vision, dizziness, increased heart rate, low blood pressure, hallucinations, confusion, loss of coordination and seizures. Some people have also gotten sick by swallowing ivermectin products intended for use on skin (e.g., lotions and creams) or for use in animals.

Long story short: if other medicines are proven to help fight COVID-19 infection, and ivermectin can make some people sick, why take the chance? If you think you have COVID-19, talk to your health care provider (or call 211 if you don’t have one).

To learn more about treatments authorized and approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for COVID-19, visit http://ow.ly/N0PB50JGgjo.

Free webinars about COVID-19 treatments

Join a free community-focused COVID-19 webinar – offered in English and Spanish – to learn about COVID-19 treatments. Experts from Oregon Health Authority (OHA) and Oregon Heath & Science University will discuss everything we know about available COVID-19 treatments, such as monoclonal antibodies and antiviral medication, who is eligible for these treatments and how to access them. 

Click the links below to join the live webinars: 

  • English – Thursday, June 23, 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. Mountain Time  
    Call in: +1-669-254-5252, Meeting ID: 161 027 9494, Passcode: 133296 
  • Spanish – Friday, June 24, 7 p.m. to 8 p.m., Mountain Time.
    Call in: +1-669-254-5252, Meeting ID: 161 843 3152, Passcode: 226211 

There will also be an opportunity to ask questions. An ASL interpreter will be present, and closed captioning will be provided. Both webinars will be recorded and posted to the OHA website here

Treatments available for COVID-19 infections

More than two years into the COVID-19 pandemic, there are now several effective treatments for the disease. Two of those treatments are Paxlovid and Molnupiravir, antiviral pills for non-hospitalized patients. They are available by prescription to people infected with the COVID-19 virus who have conditions that put them at risk for severe illness.

COVID-19 cases are increasing rapidly in Malheur County. If you or a loved one tests positive for COVID-19 and is at risk for serious disease, there are treatment options available. If you test positive, contact your provider and request a prescription for one of the antiviral medications being used to treat COVID-19.

There are no federal test-to-treat locations in Malheur County, so you will need to contact a medical provider to access medication.

Eligibility for Paxlovid and Molnupiravir:

People with certain health conditions like chronic lung disease or cancer are at higher risk for hospitalization or death from COVID-19 infection, as are people older than 65. Conditions that increase risk for severe COVID-19 include, but are not limited to:

  • Type 1 or 2 diabetes
  • Depression or schizophrenia
  • Chronic lung or heart diseases, including moderate to severe asthma
  • Cancer
  • Dementia or other neurological conditions
  • Down syndrome
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Obesity
  • Pregnancy
  • Age may be a factor that contributes to higher risk

Check out the full list of eligible conditions from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Both Paxlovid and Molnupiravir must be taken within five days of symptom onset.

Because these medications are only available at certain pharmacies, ask your physician which pharmacy you should use to access the medication. Currently, dozens of pharmacies in Oregon, located in most counties, carry Paxlovid and Molnupiravir. Pharmacies should not ask for any fees associated with the medication, including dispensing fees.

Staying up to date with COVID-19 vaccines (getting primary series and booster) and following preventive measures for COVID-19 are important. This is especially important if you are older or have severe health conditions or more than one health condition, including those on this list. Learn more about how CDC develops COVID-19 vaccination recommendations. If you have a medical condition, learn more about Actions You Can Take.

Information sessions set to learn about COVID-19 treatments

Today, April 29, 2022, and again May 4, the Oregon Health Authority will host online learning sessions about treatments for people who have tested positive for COVID-19. Today’s session, slated for 1 p.m. Mountain Time, is in Spanish. The May 4 session, also at 1 p.m. Mountain Time, is in English.

These sessions are for anyone in the public, including physicians and caregivers, to ask questions and learn more about the treatments, where to get them, what they cost and more.

ASL interpreters will be available for both sessions.

Answers to questions about COVID-19 treatments

Dr. Andrea Lara, MD, MPH, Oregon Health Authority health advisor, answered today’s questions. We’ll continue to answer your questions on COVID-19 topics in upcoming newsletters. 

Q: Why does my internist say she can’t give me a prescription for Paxlovid for travel?
A:
“The available COVID-19 treatments are for treating active infections, not for preventing them. Paxlovid is not a preventative medication you can take with you when you travel. You must be infected by the COVID-19 virus and have a positive COVID-19 test to receive the medication.”

Q: President Biden announced the Test-to-Treat program in his State of the Union message. Is it set up and working? What is the criteria for being prescribed Paxlovid or Molnupirvir?
A:
“The Test-to-Treat (T2T) program is up and working. You can find T2T locations on the federal locator site. Just enter your zip code and it will show you participating locations. To make an appointment at any of the locations, call the number listed on the site. To receive a COVID-19 oral antiviral (Paxlovid or Molnupiravir), you have to test positive for COVID-19 and be at risk of developing severe COVID-19 illness. Certain medical conditions or your age could qualify you to receive treatment. At the T2T location, you will be evaluated by a health care provider. See a list of medical conditions here that might qualify you to receive treatment.”

*For people who do not have insurance, there may be a fee associated with the T2T service.

Treatments are available for COVID-19

While we currently have highly effective vaccines that protect against the virus that causes COVID-19, medical research continues to identify effective treatments.

There are several treatments being used for COVID-19. They are for different kinds of people facing different risks, and they are in extremely short supply around the country. There are doses available in Malheur County, so if you test positive, and want the treatment, contact your health care provider right away. Test-to-treat locations, in which a person can get tested and treated immediately, can be found here.

If you get sick with COVID-19, contact your health care provider or 211 to see if you’re eligible for COVID-19 treatment. Please don’t go to the emergency room to seek these treatments.

To learn more about COVID-19 treatments, visit this website.