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Living Well

Medication-Related COVID-19 FAQs

Last updated: May 14, 2020


Is there a medication available to treat COVID-19?

There are currently no FDA approved medications to treat COVID-19. People infected with this virus, presenting with mild symptoms, benefit from and recover with supportive care such as rest, fluids, and fever control. There is very limited evidence showing potential benefit of drugs such as hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil) which has serious side effects and is in limited supply to previously treated patients for FDA approved indications.  Therefore, its use is strictly reserved for hospitalized patients with confirmed severe COVID-19 where patients can be monitored by for cardiac toxicity and drug-drug interactions.
 

Is there a medication available to prevent COVID-19?

There are currently no medications available to prevent people from getting infected with this virus. The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to the virus. Follow CDC Guidelines How To Protect Yourself which include hand washing, cleaning frequently touched surfaces often, and social distancing.
 

Is there a vaccine available to prevent COVID-19?

There is currently no vaccine for COVID-19. The National Institutes of Health is developing a vaccine, but it will not be approved and available for use for at least a year.
 

Is it safe to take ibuprofen?

There is currently no scientific evidence suggesting that use of ibuprofen can worsen COVID-19. This concern is hypothetical. The World Health Organization (WHO) has made no recommendation against the use of ibuprofen. If you are taking prescription ibuprofen, it is safe to continue taking it for your condition as prescribed by your provider. It is also safe to take either over-the-counter ibuprofen or acetaminophen at recommended doses for short-term use to relieve pain and reduce fever. Discuss with your providers about long-term use of either medication.
 

Is it safe to continue taking my medications for high blood pressure, specifically ACE-Is and ARBs (examples: Benazepril, Enalapril, Lisinopril, Ramipril, Irbesartan, Losartan, Olmesartan, Valsartan)?

It is important for patients who have been prescribed ACE-Is and ARBs to continue their medication! The potential concern of worsening infection is hypothetical. There is currently no scientific evidence suggesting patients diagnosed with COVID-19 taking these medications had any better or worse treatment outcomes, while the benefits of reducing cardiovascular disease are well proven. The American College of Cardiology, American Heart Association, and Heart Failure Society of America recommends continued treatment as these medications are very important for your heart and your health. Do not stop taking any prescribed medication without first consulting your prescriber!
 

I take a corticosteroid as a nasal spray, oral tablets, and/or inhaler for my health conditions, can I continue these?

Yes, these therapies are important to maintain your various health conditions (examples: allergies, asthma, COPD) and should be taken as prescribed by your provider. Do not stop taking any prescribed medication without first consulting your prescriber.  Known concerns about corticosteroid use in COVID-19 have only been identified in hospitalized and critically ill patients taking oral corticosteroids.
 

I take controlled drug substances (examples: Adderall, oxycodone, Xanax) for my chronic conditions. Will I still receive prescription refills if I am not able to see my providers in the office every 3 months?

Given that there is a Public Health Emergency in effect, the requirements for an in-office visit every 3 months have been relaxed to ensure patients have no gaps in obtaining these medications. Please contact your provider’s office 2 weeks before you are due for a refill. In many cases you will be able to have a visit with your provider either by phone or video. 
 

Does my blood type protect me from or increase my risk of COVID-19?

There is no robust clinical evidence that correlates blood types with risk of COVID-19 infection. Currently, your blood type is not a risk factor for COVID-19. We appreciate if you refrain from contacting our offices and/or hospitals to inquire about your blood type as it does not affect how you will be managed if you are suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19.
 

Will my pharmacy remain open?

Yes, pharmacies will remain open to fill your medications. Essential retail businesses that are exempt from the mandate to cease storefront operations include pharmacies and other health care services.  Many pharmacies are waiving delivery fees to promote social distancing and minimize risk.
 

Does smoking increase my risk of COVID-19?

Considering COVID-19 targets the lungs, we anticipate patients who smoke or vape tobacco or marijuana to be at increased risk of worse outcomes. Based on the information available and the known impact of smoking on other viral lung infections, it is encouraged to abstain from smoking or vaping tobacco or marijuana to minimize your risk. If you need assistance quitting, please contact your health care provider.

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Telemedicine Now Available!

Summit Medical Group is making it easier than ever for patients to seek care while limiting exposure to COVID-19. Our telemedicine options include virtual video visits, telephone check-ins, and patient portal communication.

Call (908) 273-4300 to determine which type of telemedicine visit will meet your needs. Or Click here to learn more.