Lakeland Regional Health Begins Administering New COVID-19 Therapy Drug That Decreases Need for Hospitalization

Lakeland, FL – Lakeland Regional Health is pleased to share that it is now treating COVID-19 patients with bamlanivimab, the monoclonal antibody treatment shown to reduce the severity of the virus and decrease an individual’s need for hospitalization by as much as 70 percent.

“This new COVID-19 drug therapy has great promise,” said Timothy J. Regan, MD, President, Lakeland Regional Health Medical Center/Chief Medical Officer, Lakeland Regional Health. “Particularly as we see a rise in COVID-19 cases around our state and country, Lakeland Regional Health is steadfast in its commitment to provide leading-edge, evidence-based treatments and processes to the patients and families we serve. We are pleased to be among the first health systems in the state to offer this drug treatment.”

The 864-bed Lakeland Regional Health Medical Center currently has 58 COVID-19 patients in its care, with a total of 769 patients in the hospital today.

The health system began using its initial allotment of 140 doses when it treated three patients with bamlanivimab on November 19, 2020. The drug is intended for high-risk COVID-19 patients ages 12 years and older with mild to moderate symptoms in an effort to prevent symptoms from worsening and requiring emergency hospitalization. A patient must have begun experiencing symptoms within 10 days or less, with an emphasis on symptom onset within three days. A list of additional criteria can be found here. Bamlanivimab is designed to be administered in an outpatient setting by intravenous (IV) infusion that takes about an hour, followed by an hour of observation. At Lakeland Regional Health, this infusion is currently taking place in an area of the Emergency Department.

“Our exceptional physicians and nurses have been at the forefront of testing and treating COVID-19 patients throughout the pandemic, and they stand ready to care for you with this new treatment,” said Hal Escowitz, MD, Lakeland Regional Health Quality Officer and Chief Medical Informatics Officer.

Those who test positive for COVID-19 and meet the above criteria are encouraged to ask their Primary Care Provider about bamlanivimab. Healthcare providers can call 863.687.1100, Extension 2534, for more information and to refer a patient.

Parents of COVID-19 patients ages 12 to 17 who have questions about bamlanivimab can call 863.687.1100, Extension 3157. Adult patients who meet the high-risk criteria and have tested positive for COVID-19 can call 863.687.1100, Extension 1693.