Sotrovimab is a medicine used to treat COVID-19 (coronavirus).
It’s available to people who are at the highest risk of serious illness or death from COVID-19.
Sotrovimab is also known by the brand name Xevudy. It has been approved for use by the European Medicines Agency (EMA).
How sotrovimab works
Sotrovimab works by preventing the virus from entering cells in your body. This helps your body fight the infection and may prevent you from getting seriously ill.
It has been found to be effective at reducing serious illness or death in some groups of people who are at the highest risk from COVID-19.
Recent evidence shows that it is less effective at treating the BA.2 variant of COVID-19 which is currently circulating in Ireland.
Who can have sotrovimab
You may be recommended sotrovimab if all of these apply to you:
- You're at the highest risk of serious illness or death from COVID-19.
- You've had COVID-19 symptoms within the last 5 days.
- You've had a positive PCR test within the last 5 days.
- You're aged 12 or older and weigh at least 40kg.
Who may not be able to have sotrovimab
Sotrovimab is not suitable for some people.
To make sure it's safe for you, tell your doctor or nurse if:
- you have ever had an allergic reaction to sotrovimab
- you are pregnant, trying to get pregnant or breastfeeding
Pregnancy and sotrovimab
Talk to your doctor or hospital consultant before receiving sotrovimab if you are:
- think you may be pregnant
- trying to get pregnant
There is little information about the use of sotrovimab in pregnancy because this medicine is new. The risks and benefits of the treatment for you and your baby are currently unknown.
Your doctor or hospital consultant will advise you if the benefits of treatment are greater than any likely risks for you and your baby.
Breastfeeding and sotrovimab
Talk to your doctor or hospital consultant before receiving sotrovimab if you are breastfeeding.
We don't know yet if sotrovimab can pass into breast milk.
How and when to have sotrovimab
If sotrovimab is recommended for you, you’ll have treatment in hospital as soon as possible after you've had a positive COVID-19 test. Sotrovimab works best when it's given within 5 days of your symptoms starting.
Sotrovimab is given through a drip in your arm (infusion) over 30 minutes. You'll only need 1 dose of 500mg.
You will need to be monitored for at least 1 hour after your treatment.
Side effects of sotrovimab
It’s common for infusion treatment to cause a reaction in some people.
Common signs of a reaction to infusion treatment include:
- you have redness (this may be less noticeable on black or brown skin) and feel warmth on your skin
- you have a temperature of 38 degrees Celsius or higher (fever)
- you experience chills
- you have difficulty breathing
- your heart beats rapidly
- you suddenly feel weak or light-headed
Call 999 or 112 or go to an emergency department (ED) immediately if you have any of these symptoms and are not already in hospital. These symptoms usually happen within the first 24 hours, but could be later.
If you feel dizzy after your treatment, do not drive a car, ride a bike, or use tools or machinery.
Other uncommon side effects include shortness of breath.
Serious side effects
In rare cases, sotrovimab may cause a serious allergic reaction (anaphylaxis).
Signs of a severe allergic reaction include:
- you're wheezing or coughing
- you have trouble breathing or talking
- your mouth, face, lips, tongue or throat start swelling
- you suddenly feel weak or light-headed
- you get a skin rash that may include red, swollen, blistered or peeling skin
- your skin is itchy
You will need emergency help if you have a serious allergic reaction.
If you get any side effects, talk to your doctor.
You can report any suspected side effects to the Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA).
Sotrovimab and other medicines
Tell your doctor or hospital consultant if you're taking any other medicines, including herbal remedies, vitamins or supplements.
Finding your patient information leaflet online
Your patient information leaflet (PIL) is the leaflet that comes in the package of your medicine.
To find the PIL for sotrovimab (Xevudy) online, visit the European Medicine Agency website
This content was fact checked by HSE health professionals.