Optima Health to administer COVID-19 medication in patients’ homes
Puerto Rican company Optima Health announced today that it will begin at-home treatment of the bamlanivimab drug for patients with COVID-19, as a measure to prevent the spread of this disease.
Treatment administration will also be available at its Optima Infusion Center, at the Doctor’s Center in Manatí.
The drug bamlanivimab, developed by pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly, has been cleared by the FDA for emergency use in patients with COVID-19 who present mild to moderate symptoms in early stages, as a preventive measure to hospitalization.
“Administering the drug in the patient’s home, instead of a hospital, significantly reduces the risk of infection to other people,” said Mariely Díaz, pharmacist and CEO of Optima Health.
“It’s a much more convenient and comfortable option for patients in Puerto Rico, especially for our most vulnerable groups, such as those who live in nursing homes and those who have mobility difficulties,” she said.
The Puerto Rico Health Department provides the treatment at no cost to the patient and most medical plans cover its administration, she said. This medication requires an hour-long IV infusion, and an additional hour for observation purposes after the patient receives it.
“It’s important for doctors to know that there’s a new alternative for administering the bamlanivimab treatment, and that they can include it in their prescription to their COVID-19 patients. Likewise, patients can ask their doctors if they can receive this treatment at home, to avoid visiting hospitals,” said Díaz.
As for the Optima Infusion Center in Manatí, the pharmacist reported that they expect to treat about 25 patients daily, and that the center will have all the protection and security equipment for their clinical staff and patients.
“Giving this drug to patients who meet FDA requirements can reduce hospitalizations. This eases the burden on hospital staff,” said Díaz.