COVID-19 Medication Options - Minnesota Dept. of Health
As we learn more about COVID-19, recommendations and guidance are updated frequently. Please check back often.

COVID-19 Medication Options

On this page:
Remdesivir and convalescent plasma
Moncolonal antibodies
    What is monoclondal antibody treatment?
    Fact sheets for patients, parents, and caregivers
    Benefits
    Side effects
    Pregnant or breastfeeding
    COVID-19 vaccine and antibody treatment
    Cost and insurance
    How can I get monoclonal antibody treatment?

Remdesivir and convalescent plasma

These medication options are typically for people with severe COVID-19 who require hospitalization.

For more information, visit combatCOVID: Available COVID-19 Treatment Options.

Monoclonal antibodies

Monoclonal antibody treatment can be used by people with mild to moderate COVID-19 who are not hospitalized. To be eligible, patients must:

  • Test positive for SARS-CoV-2.
  • Be within 10 days of the start of their symptoms.
  • Be 12 years of age or older and weigh at least 88 pounds.
  • Be at high risk of getting very sick from COVID-19 or of needing to be admitted to a hospital because of COVID-19.

    High risk for progressing to severe COVID-19 and/or hospitalization is defined as patients who meet at least one of the following criteria:

    • Have a body mass index (BMI) greater than 35.
    • Have chronic kidney disease.
    • Have diabetes.
    • Have immunosuppressive disease.
    • Are currently receiving immunosuppressive treatment.
    • Are 65 years of age or older.
    • Are 55 years of age or older AND have one or more of the following:
      • Cardiovascular disease.
      • Hypertension.
      • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease/other chronic respiratory disease.
    • Are 12-17 years of age AND have one or more of the following:
      • Body mass index greater than 85th percentile for their age and gender, based on CDC: Clinical Growth Charts.
      • Sickle cell disease.
      • Congenital or acquired heart disease.
      • Neurodevelopmental disorders, for example, cerebral palsy.
      • A medical-related technological dependence; for example, tracheostomy, gastrostomy, or positive pressure ventilation (not related to COVID-19).
      • Asthma, reactive airway, or other chronic respiratory disease that requires daily medication for control.

Talk to your doctor or other health care provider about treatments that are right for you.

What is monoclonal antibody treatment?

Antibodies are proteins that people's bodies make to fight viruses, such as the virus that causes COVID-19. Antibodies made in a laboratory act a lot like natural antibodies to limit the amount of virus in your body. They are called monoclonal antibodies.

Antibodies must be given into a vein by intravenous (IV) infusion. Antibodies may be administered only in settings where health care providers have immediate access to medications to treat any reactions and where emergency medical systems are available, if needed.

Monoclonal antibody treatment with bamlanivimab, bamlanivimab/etesevimab, or with casirivimab and imdevimab are for people who have tested positive for COVID-19 and have mild to moderate symptoms. Casirivimab and imdevimab must be given together. Bamlanivimab can be given alone or with etesevimab; etesevimab cannot be given alone. These treatments are allowed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) under an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) while clinical studies continue to look at their usefulness and safety.

Fact sheets for patients, parents, and caregivers

Benefits

Clinical trials for all three monoclonal antibodies have shown a decrease in hospitalizations and emergency room visits and a decrease in the amount of virus in an infected person's blood. Studies are still ongoing.

Side effects

Monoclonal antibody treatment may have side effects. The most common reported side effects include:

  • For bamlanivimab: nausea, diarrhea, dizziness, headache, itching, and vomiting.
  • For bamlanivimab/etesevimab: nausea, dizziness, itching, and rash.
  • For casirivimab/imdevimab: nausea, vomiting, hyperglycemia, and pneumonia.

The side effects of getting any medicine by vein may include brief pain, bleeding, bruising of the skin, soreness, swelling, and possible infection at the infusion site. Additionally, because bamlanivimab, bamlanivimab/etesevimab, and casirivimab/imdevimab are antibody treatments, they could affect your body's own immune response to future infections with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, or they could affect your immune response to a vaccine for COVID-19.

Allergic reactions including hypersensitivity reactions (such as itching or flushing) and anaphylaxis have been reported in clinical trials of bamlanivimab, casirivimab/imdevimab and bamlanivimab/etesevimab. These allergic reactions are very rare and in all cases were successfully treated and resolved. Clinical studies are ongoing to evaluate the usefulness and safety of antibody treatment. It is possible that not all risks are known yet.

Pregnant or breastfeeding

We do not know yet if it is safe to use the antibody treatment while pregnant. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should talk with their doctor or other health care provider. There is no available data on the presence of lab-made antibodies in human or animal milk, the effects on breastfed infants, or the effects on milk production.

CDC: Considerations for Newborns and Breastfeeding

COVID-19 vaccine and antibody treatment

We do not yet know how effective vaccines are in someone who has previously received an antibody treatment for a COVID-19 infection, or whether the antibody treatment could interfere with your body's own immune response to a vaccine. Once you have had COVID-19, you are very unlikely to be reinfected for three months afterward. So, if you receive an antibody treatment, you should delay receiving a vaccine for three months as a precaution.

It is important to know that if you have already received a vaccine for COVID-19, you are still eligible for antibody treatment. You may be treated with monoclonal antibodies whether you have received one or two doses of vaccine. If you have only received one dose of vaccine, you should delay receiving the second dose for three months after treatment, but you do not have to start the vaccine series over again.

See CDC: Interim Clinical Considerations for Use of mRNA COVID-19 Vaccines Currently Authorized in the United States

Cost and insurance

The federal government distributed antibody supplies at no cost to patients. However, some hospitals may have billed insurance companies to administer the drug. The state of Minnesota is working to ensure that any location that gives antibody treatments is considered in network and covered by insurance. However, if you are treated at a health care facility outside of your usual network, it is possible that you may have additional out-of-pocket charges (for example, if an E-Health visit is necessary to confirm eligibility). More information on insurance coverage of antibody treatments can be found at CMS: Coverage of Monoclonal Antibody Products to Treat COVID-19 (PDF).

How can I get monoclonal antibody treatment?

Go to Minnesota Resource Allocation Platform for COVID-19 Treatment to access more information about this online tool that connects patients and health care providers with COVID-19 medications that are in limited supply. The platform also helps to distribute these medications in an equitable way when there is not enough for everyone who needs them.

Updated Wednesday, 10-Mar-2021 14:41:21 CST