The Kanagawa Prefectural Government has launched efforts to promote early and proactive prescriptions of drugs for those infected with the coronavirus and not hospitalized but required to self-isolate at home, it has been learned.
Drugs in scope for the proactive prescriptions include fever and pain relievers as well as cough medicine. If patients have signs of pneumonia and have no records of diabetes or other diseases, steroids may also be prescribed.
The move is designed to prevent self-isolating patients from developing severe symptoms, and so ease burdens on medical institutions where capacity has recently been strained.
An antibody cocktail believed to be effective in preventing COVID-19 patients from developing severe symptoms will not be administered to patients under self-quarantine at home or at special accommodation facilities without a doctor on duty at all times, as it may cause a strong allergic reaction within 24 hours after administration.
Previously, doctors often did not prescribe any drugs for such patients on an initial consultation if their symptoms were only mild, instead choosing to monitor their condition for a period of time.
The Kanagawa authorities on Friday asked all medical institutions in the prefecture to provide drugs proactively to COVID-19 patients as soon as they test positive for the virus. The initiative is believed to be the first in the nation to be conducted on a prefecture-wide basis.
A similar step was taken earlier this year in Kobe, when the city was hit by the fourth wave of COVID-19 infections, but the measure was not expanded across the prefecture.
The initiative of promoting early drug use could be adopted nationwide as hospital bed availability falls across the country.
Kanagawa has been sending those infected with the virus and considered to be at high risk of developing severe symptoms to hospitals, preferentially, for treatment according to their symptoms.
As there are a growing number of mildly ill patients who cannot be hospitalized, medical institutions in the prefecture are now being urged to prescribe drugs proactively when they give a COVID-19 diagnosis.
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