Our Blog

COVID-19 Treatment Options: Bamlanivimab


Below is information to help you understand the potential risks and potential benefits of taking bamlanivimab. Bamlanivimab is a medicine used to treat some patients with COVID-19 infection. Receiving bamlanivimab may benefit certain people with COVID-19. Talk to your healthcare provider if you have questions. It is your choice to receive bamlanivimab or stop it at anytime.


COVID-19 is caused by a virus called a coronavirus. People can get COVID-19 through contact with another person who has the virus. COVID-19 illnesses have ranged from very mild (including some with no reported symptoms) to severe including illness resulting in death. While information so far suggests that most COVID-19 illness is mild, serious illness can happen and may cause some of your other medical conditions to become worse. People of all ages with severe, long-lasting (chronic) medical conditions like heart disease, lung disease and diabetes, for example, seem to be at higher risk of being hospitalized for COVID-19.


The symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough, and shortness of breath, which may appear 2-14 days after exposure. Serious illness including breathing problems can occur and may cause your other medical conditions to become worse.


Bamlanivimab is an investigational medicine used for the treatment of COVID-19 in non-hospitalized adults with mild to moderate symptoms who weigh 88 pounds (40 kg) or more, and who are at high risk for developing severe COVID-19 symptoms or the ne need for hospitalization. Bamlanivimab is investigational because it is still being studied. There is limited information known about the safety or effectiveness of using bamlanivimab to treat people with COVID-19. The FDA has authorized the emergency use of bamlanivimab for the treatment of COVID-19 under an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA). For more information on EUA, see the section “What is an Emergency USE Authorization (EAU)? at the end of this Fact Sheet.


Tell your healthcare provider about all of your medical conditions, including if you have any allergies, are pregnant or plan to become pregnant, are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed, have any serious illnesses and are taking any medications (prescription, over-the-counter, vitamins, herbs, supplements).


Bamlanivimab is given to you through a vein (intravenous or IV) for at least an hour. You will receive only one dose of bamlanivimab.


Possible side effects of bamlanivimab are: ALLERGIC REACTIONS. Allergic reactions can happen during and after infusion with bamlanivimab. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you get any of the following signs and symptoms of allergic reactions: fever, chills, nausea, headache, shortness of breath, low blood pressure, wheezing, swelling of you lips, face or throat, rash including hives, itching, muscle aches, and dizziness.

The side effects of getting any medicine by vein may include brief pain, bleeding, bruising of the skin, soreness, swelling and possible infection at the infusion site.

These are not all the possible side effects of bamlanivimab. Not a lot of people have been given bamlanivimab. Serious and unexpected side effects may happen. Bamlanivimab is still being studies so it is possible that all of the risks are not known at this time. It is possible that bamlanivimab could interfere with your body’s own ability to fight off a future infection of SAR-CoV-2. Similarly, bamlanivimab may reduce your body’s immune response to a vaccine for SARS-CoV-2. Specific studies have not been conducted to address these possible risks. Talk to your healthcare provider if you have ay questions.


Like bamlanivimab, the FDA may allow for the emergency use of other medicines to treat people with COVID-19. You can see more information at https://www.covid19treatmentguidelines.nih.gov. It is your choice to be treated or not to be treated with bamlanivimab. Should you decide not to receive bamlanivimab or stop it at any time, it will not change your standard medical care.


There is limited experience treating pregnant women or breastfeeding mothers with bamlanivimab. For a mother and unborn baby, the benefit of receiving bamlanivimab may be greater than the risk from the treatment. If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, discuss your options and specific situation with your healthcare provider.


Tell your healthcare provider right away if you have any side effect that bothers you or does not go away. Reports side effects to FDA MedWatch at www.fda.gov/medwatch, call 1-800-FDA-1088 or contact Eli Lilly and Company at 1-855-LillyC19.


The United States FDA has made bamlanivimab available under an emergency access mechanism called an EUA. The EUA is supported by a Secretary of Health and Human Service (HHS) declaration that circumstances exist to justify the emergency use of drugs and biological products during the COVID-19 pandemic. Bamlanivimab has not undergone the same type of review as an FDA-approved or cleared product. The FDA may issue an EUA when certain criteria are met, which includes that there are no adequate, approved, and available alternatives. In addition, the FDA decision is based on the totality of scientific evidence available show that it is effective in the treatment pf patients during the COVID-19 pandemic. All of these criteria must be met to allow for the product to be used in the treatment of patients during the COVID-19 pandemic. The EUA for bamlanivimab is in effect for the duration of the COVID-19 declaration justifying emergency use of these products, unless terminated or revoked (after which the product may no longer be used).

UPDATE on COVID-19 Eligibility

As many of you are aware, the vaccine distribution schedule for Colorado was updated on 1/29/2021.

The update has created a Phase 1B2 and a Phase 1B3.

Phase 1B2 will be starting Monday 2/8/2021 and will include Coloradans age 65-69, teachers/child-care workers and some government workers.  This means that starting on 2/8/2021, this group (age 65-69, teachers/child-care workers and some government workers) will be eligible to receive the vaccine.  The availability of vaccine is still limited and it may take several weeks to schedule and receive the 1st dose.  During Phase 1B2, all Coloradans who were already eligible, including healthcare workers, age >69 years, and first-responders, are also STILL ELIGIBLE and have priority to receive the vaccine.

Phase 1B3 will likely start in March.  Phase 1B3 will include front-line essential workers and Coloradans age 16-64 with 2 OR MORE HIGH RISK FACTORS.  These high-risk factors have now been defined as the following: Coloradans with cancer (defined as patients who are currently receiving treatment or have received treatment within the last month for cancer), chronic kidney disease, COPD, diabetes mellitus, Down syndrome, specific heart conditions (heart failure, cardiomyopathies or coronary heart disease, and severe valvular/congenital heart disease), obesity (BMI of 30 or more), pregnancy, sickle cell disease, solid organ transplant, disabilities that prevent mask-wearing.

This is a very specific list.  Asthma is NOT currently included in this list and this is a change compared to previous definitions of high-risk characteristics.

Phase 2 will likely start in spring 2021 and will include Coloradans age 16-64 with one high-risk condition (as listed above) as well as other categories of government employees and adults who previously participated in a COVID-19 vaccine trial but received a placebo.

At this point, patients with asthma are not considered high-risk and those under age 65 without one or more of the qualifying high risk factors will be eligible for vaccine in phase 3.

Vaccine availability (not eligibility) is still very limited and even if you or a family member is eligible, it may take weeks to actually receive the vaccine.  Additionally, 2nd doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine take priority over Coloradans receiving their 1st dose of these vaccines.

Finally, we are still awaiting further clarification and this may change in the future.

Here is a link to the current Vaccine Distribution plan for Colorado: COVID-19 vaccine | Colorado COVID-19 Updates