Remdesivir is an antiviral medication currently being studied for the treatment of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
Only limited clinical trial information is available at this time to support the use of remdesivir for the treatment of COVID-19. Some initial studies indicate that certain people in the hospital who have COVID-19 may benefit from receiving remdesivir because it may shorten the time to recovery. However, more information is needed to know how well remdesivir works for the treatment of COVID-19. More information is also needed about the possible adverse events that may occur from receiving remdesivir.
There are currently no FDA-approved products available to treat COVID-19. Remdesivir has not undergone the standard review to be approved by the FDA for use. However, the FDA has approved an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) to allow adults and children who are hospitalized with severe COVID-19 to receive remdesivir.
Talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of receiving this medication.
Why is this medication prescribed?
Remdesivir injection is used to treat severe COVID-19 infection in certain hospitalized adults and children. Remdesivir is in a class of medications called antivirals. It works by stopping the virus from spreading in the body.
How should this medicine be used?
Remdesivir comes as a powder to be mixed with liquid and infused (injected slowly) into a vein over 30 to 120 minutes by a doctor or nurse in a hospital. It is usually given once daily for 5 to 10 days. The length of your treatment depends on how well your body responds to the medication.
Remdesivir injection may cause serious reactions during and after the infusion of the medication. A doctor or nurse will monitor you carefully while you are receiving the medication. Tell your doctor or nurse immediately if you experience any of the following symptoms during the infusion: chills or shivering; nausea; vomiting; sweating; dizziness upon standing up; rash; wheezing or shortness of breath; abnormally fast or slow heartbeat; or swelling of the face, throat, tongue, lips, or eyes. Your doctor may need to slow down your infusion or stop your treatment if you experience these side effects.
Ask your pharmacist or doctor for a copy of the manufacturer's information for the patient.
Other uses for this medicine
This medication may be prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
What special precautions should I follow?
Before receiving remdesivir,
- tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to remdesivir, any other medications, or any of the ingredients in remdesivir injection. Ask your pharmacist for a list of the ingredients.
- tell your doctor and pharmacist what other prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products you are taking or plan to take. Be sure to mention any of the following: chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil). Your doctor may need to change the doses of your medications or monitor you carefully for side effects.
- tell your doctor if you have or have ever had liver or kidney disease.
- tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding. If you become pregnant while receiving remdesivir, call your doctor.
What special dietary instructions should I follow?
Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, continue your normal diet.
What side effects can this medication cause?
Remdesivir may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
- pain, bleeding, bruising of the skin, soreness, or swelling near the place where the medication was injected
Some side effects can be serious. If you experience any of these symptoms or those in the HOW section, call your doctor immediately or get emergency medical treatment:
- yellow eyes or skin; dark urine; or pain or discomfort in right upper stomach area
Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while receiving this medication.
If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online (http://www.fda.gov/Safety/MedWatch) or by phone (1-800-332-1088).
In case of emergency/overdose
In case of overdose, call the poison control helpline at 1-800-222-1222. Information is also available online at https://www.poisonhelp.org/help. If the victim has collapsed, had a seizure, has trouble breathing, or can't be awakened, immediately call emergency services at 911.
What other information should I know?
Keep all appointments with your doctor and the laboratory. Your doctor will order certain lab tests to check your body's response to remdesivir.
Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about remdesivir injection.
It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.
The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, Inc. represents that this information about remdesivir was formulated with a reasonable standard of care, and in conformity with professional standards in the field. Readers are cautioned that remdesivir is not an approved treatment for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by SARS-CoV-2, but rather, is being investigated for and is currently available under, an FDA emergency use authorization (EUA) for the treatment of severe COVID-19 in hospitalized patients. The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, Inc. makes no representations or warranties, express or implied, including, but not limited to, any implied warranty of merchantability and/or fitness for a particular purpose, with respect to the information, and specifically disclaims all such warranties. Readers of the information about remdesivir are advised that ASHP is not responsible for the continued currency of the information, for any errors or omissions, and/or for any consequences arising from the use of this information. Readers are advised that decisions regarding drug therapy are complex medical decisions requiring the independent, informed decision of an appropriate health care professional, and the information contained in this information is provided for informational purposes only. The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, Inc. does not endorse or recommend the use of any drug. This information about remdesivir is not to be considered individual patient advice. Because of the changing nature of drug information, you are advised to consult with your physician or pharmacist about specific clinical use of any and all medications.