Local pharmacies are not yet prescribing drugs for the treatment of COVID-19 but have them in stock | Local News

While the US Food and Drug Administration now allows pharmacists to prescribe Paxlovid, the antiviral drug to treat patients with COVID-19, many local pharmacies do not offer this service.

While most local pharmacies fill prescriptions for Paxlovid from patients’ healthcare providers, pharmacists at most local pharmacies do not prescribe Paxlovid themselves.

Several Santa Barbara-area pharmacists told Noozhawk that their stores don’t yet provide Paxlovid without a doctor’s prescription — primarily due to guidelines requiring pharmacists to test liver and kidney function — but the service may be available at the future.

Local pharmacies Noozhawk spoke to include CVS, Ralphs, Rite Aid, Walgreens, and Vons.

Test-to-treat sites are still available across the county, providing COVID-19 testing, determining eligibility for oral antiviral treatment and prescribing treatment drugs, including Paxlovid.

In early July, the FDA revised the emergency use authorization for the antiviral drug Paxlovid to allow pharmacists to prescribe it directly to patients, which could expand access to treatment.

“Given that Paxlovid must be taken within five days of symptom onset, allowing state-licensed pharmacists to prescribe Paxlovid could expand access to prompt treatment for some patients eligible to receive this drug for the treatment of COVID-19,” said Patrizia Cavazzoni, director of the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research.

Paxlovid is licensed to treat mild to moderate COVID-19 in people aged 12 or older who weigh at least 40 kilograms – about 88 pounds – with positive COVID-19 test results and who are at high risk of developing a Severe COVID-19.

Authorized patients who test positive for COVID-19 – with a rapid antigen test or PCR test – and wish to determine their eligibility for Paxlovid at places where pharmacists prescribe the drug should bring a list of all medications they are taking, including over-the-counter medications, and an electronic or printed health record that is less than 12 months old.

Health records should also show the patient’s most recent lab blood tests so pharmacists can see any kidney or liver problems.

If there is not enough information to assess liver and kidney function or to assess potential drug interactions – or if a change in medications would be necessary – pharmacists should refer patients to a physician, assistant doctor or an advanced practice registered nurse.

This requirement to examine liver and kidney function in patients is one of the reasons why some local pharmacies do not yet supply Paxlovid without a doctor’s prescription.

The Santa Barbara County Public Health Department has tips for getting COVID-19 treatment:

» If you have symptoms, call your health care provider immediately to inquire about testing and whether you are eligible for COVID-19 treatments.

» Stay home and isolate yourself from others to avoid making them sick.

» If you don’t have a health care provider or if you don’t hear from your provider in the next few days, go to a testing center to get a quick test and find out if the treatments are right for you. agree.

» If you’re uninsured, get free care at an OptumServe test-to-treat center.

Testing sites for treatment in Santa Barbara County include two public health sites with Optum Serve – the Santa Maria Fairpark at 937 Thornburg St. in Santa Maria and the minibus at Direct Relief at 6100 Wallace Becknell Road in Santa Barbara.

Test-to-treat services are also available at the Sansum Clinic Urgent Care at 215 Pesetas Lane in Santa Barbara.

More information about Testing for Treating Public Health sites can be found here, and other sites providing Testing for Treating services or filling Paxlovid prescriptions can be found at this web-based Testing for Treating locator. .

– Noozhawk editor Serena Guentz can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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