Friday, March 20, 2020

Hydroxychloroquine and Azithromycin as a treatment of COVID-19

First of all, credit to the authors. Huge hat tip to them.

Gautret et al. (2020) Hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin as a treatment of COVID‐19: results of an open‐label non‐randomized clinical trial. International Journal of Antimicrobial Agents – In Press 17 March 2020 – DOI : 10.1016/j.ijantimicag.2020.105949


First of all, there are a substantial amount of limitations to the study but in my opinion, not medical advice, it provides a glimmer of hope. 

Let's begin
Where was it performed: French study (thank youuuuuu!)
Population: NOT ICU Patients! But we've learned that non-ICU patients become ICU patients extremely quick! 
n=36 (20 hydroxychloroquine, 16 control)
How did the determine the Viral load? Nasopharyngeal swabs daily
Questions I have: 6 patients (originally n=42) lost to follow up. Patients who were transferred to the ICU were considered to be "lost to follow-up" (n=3). I can't tell if the one patient who died was transferred to the ICU. Hopefully the edits will sort this out. Why didn't they just follow those patients who ended up in the ICU?
Age groups were not matched but this would favor the control group as the experimental group was older. More were male in the experimental group which we assume that males get this worse than females. More asymptomatic patients in the control group, also bodes worse for the experimental arm.

3 classifications: asymptomatic, upper respiratory, lower respiratory

Regimen:
Hydroxychloroquine 600mg daily (200mg TID x 10 days)
+/- azithromycin depending on clinical presentation (500mg on day 1, 250mg x 4 days) 

Results
At day 6, 70% of hydroxychloroquine group were virologically cured vs. 12.5% in control group (p=0.001) NNT = 1.7!! 

100% of hydroxychloroquine + azithromycin were virologically cured vs 57.1% in the hydroxychloroquine only group vs. 12.5% in the control group (p0.001)

Drug effect was higher in URI and LRI than asymptomatic patients (p=0.05)

Starts working in 3-6 days per this data. 

Careful with the QT prolongation on the EKG! Replete the Mg as needed for this. Monitor liver function. My pharmacy friends can contribute some more adverse effect stuff like retinopathy, etc.  

I cannot make any recommendations as I do not give medical advice but I know what I would do with this data to save a life. 

-EJ


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