ARKANSAS, USA — We've told you about one of the only successful therapies out there to help people with COVID-19: monoclonal antibody treatment.
Up until now, you had to go to a hospital to get an infusion. But, recently an Arkansas pharmacy became the only independent site in the state.
West Side Pharmacy in Benton opened up their infusion site on Monday, August 9.
In just four days, they've already served 22 patients and according to Pharmacist Maddison Schuller, they're constantly getting calls to serve more.
"Everyday we just have more and more patients," she said.
According to Schuller, what once was an area where people got the shots that protect them from COVID, has now turned into a site where people get treated for COVID.
"We kind of came up with the idea last week and we revamped this whole area," she said.
After a local physician reached out to West Side Pharmacy about the monoclonal antibody treatment, Schuller said they knew it was something they wanted to pursue.
"We realized that there was a huge need in the community. The hospitals are just completely overwhelmed right now and they have so many more COVID patients than they have infusion sites," she said.
With help from local clinics, the Department of Health, and donations from local hospitals, Schuller said the pharmacy opened the infusion site in only one week.
Day one, they were already taking two patients.
"Realistically we can have about 12 patients here a day. The infusion takes about 20 minutes, 20-25 minutes to complete and then we have to observe the patients for an hour," she said.
Physicians call the pharmacy when they have a COVID positive patient who qualifies for the treatment.
According to Schuller, those patients are seeing symptoms shorten by four days.
"It's really best if patients can get in here as soon as they start having symptoms and test positive. It can really prevent the virus from spreading," she said.
Describing it as a win-win for all, Schuller said it's helping relieve crowded hospitals and sick patients.
"We don't want our patients to go into the hospital, we don't want them to progress to having severe COVID, so our goal is to get people in here, get them treated early and then help them stay healthy," she said.
If you've tested positive for COVID-19 and are at risk of progressing, Schuller said to see your physician.
If they think you qualify they will write you a prescription to go to West Side Pharmacy and receive this treatment.