Coronavirus (COVID-19) Drug Therapies


COVID-19 drug therapies in New Brunswick

PaxlovidTM, an oral anti-viral treatment for COVID-19 and EvusheldTM, a preventative treatment are available in New Brunswick for certain individuals. For more information on treatments currently available in New Brunswick click on the name below:


COVID-19 treatment

Paxlovid TM

On January 17, 2022, Health Canada authorized nirmatrelvir/ritonavir (PAXLOVID), Canada’s first oral antiviral treatment for mild to moderate COVID-19 in adults who do not require hospitalization and are at high risk of progressing to serious illness.

Paxlovid is a therapeutic treatment for COVID-19 which is currently approved for people who have mild to moderate symptoms of COVID-19.

Paxlovid is an oral antiviral that can be taken at home.

Therapeutic treatment like Paxlovid is currently only available for people who are at high risk of serious illness. Paxlovid is not a substitute for vaccination.

Paxlovid does not stop you from getting COVID-19. It is used to prevent severe illness in people who are at higher risk from COVID-19. 

Paxlovid has numerous significant and serious drug interactions and may not be appropriate for all people.

To be effective, it must be taken within 5 days of developing symptoms.

Who can benefit from treatment with PaxlovidTM

Paxlovid may be beneficial for people who are at high risk of serious illness including:

  • 18 years of age or older and moderately to severely immunocompromised (see below)
  • 80 years of age and older
  • 50 to 79 years of age and not fully vaccinated
  • 50 to 79 years of age who are residing in a long-term care setting; or living in, or from First Nations communities or those receiving home care services.

To be eligible for this medication you must meet the following criteria:

  • COVID-19 infection confirmed by
    • PCR or
    • Abbot ID Now test in First Nations Communities or
    • Point of Care Test (POCT); recommended to be observed by a health care provider.
  • Mild to moderate symptoms present (fever, cough, mild shortness of breath, loss of appetite, loss of smell and/or taste, fatigue, runny nose, muscle aches, etc)
  • Symptom onset was within the past 5 days.
     

The following individuals are considered to be moderately to severely immunocompromised for the purpose of Paxlovid treatment:

  • Active or recent cancer treatment for solid tumor cancer or cancers of the blood
  • Solid organ transplant and taking immune suppression therapy
  • Recent stem cell transplant (within 2 years) or are taking immune suppression therapy
  • Moderate to severe primary immunodeficiency (e.g. DiGeorge syndrome, Wiskott-Aslrich syndrome), or advanced or untreated HIV infection, or AIDS
  • Moderate to severe immune suppression therapy such as:
    • Cancer therapy
    • Immune therapy 
    • Other biologic medications that significantly suppress the immune system (e.g. rituximab)
    • High dose systemic corticosteroids (doses of >20mg/day of prednisone for four or more weeks) or other drugs to suppress your immune system




How to access PaxlovidTM

  • Contact your primary care provider.
  • If you do not have or cannot reach your primary care provider, call 811 or visit https://www.evisitnb.ca/ to see a New Brunswick nurse practitioner or doctor online.
  • Inform your provider that you have tested positive for COVID-19 and you would like to be assessed for Paxlovid.
  • To access Paxlovid, individuals must have a confirmed positive test, either PCR or Point of Care Test (POCT). If a POCT is used, it is recommended to be observed by a health care provider.

 

 


COVID-19 preventative treatment

Evusheld TM

On April 14, 2022, Health Canada authorized Evusheld (tixagevimab and cilgavimab). EvusheldTM is a preventive treatment designed for people at high risk for complications if they were to contract COVID-19.

EvusheldTM is a medication that must be given by intramuscular injection by an authorized health professional.

Who can benefit from treatment with EvusheldTM

Individuals 18 years of age or older who:

1.  Are severely immunocompromised, regardless of vaccination status. This includes:

  • Allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplant (within 2 years or taking immunosuppressant therapy)
  • Undergoing therapy for hematological malignancies
  • Receiving anti-B cell therapies (monoclonal antibodies targeting CD19, CD20 and CD22)
  • Receipt of chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-T-cell therapy
  • Other select patients with severe primary or secondary immunodeficiency for whom the treating physician determines that benefit outweighs the risk  
     

2.  Have contraindications to COVID-19 vaccines AND at high risk of poor outcomes, including severe disease, hospitalization, or death, including:

  • 60 years of age or older
  • Obesity (BMI > 30)
  • Chronic lung disease (including asthma)
  • Chronic metabolic disease (including diabetes)
  • Chronic kidney or liver disease
  • Neurodevelopmental disorders
  • Sickle cell disease
  • Immunosuppression, or receiving immunosuppressive therapy.
     

EvusheldTM is not recommended for patients with previous history of myocardial infarction, unstable coronary artery disease, heart failure, coronary artery bypass graft, arrhythmia, cardiomegaly, cardiomyopathy, cardio-respiratory arrest or any other unstable or significant cardiac condition.


How to access EvusheldTM

  • Contact your primary care provider.
  • If you do not have or cannot reach your primary care provider, call 811.