Does Hydroxychloroquine Provide Benefit in Nonhospitalized Patients with Early COVID-19 Infection?
Skipper et al. (Annals of Internal Medicine, 2020) sought to determine if hydroxychloroquine is of benefit to individuals with COVID-19 early in their clinical course
Multisite, international, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial (March 22 through May 20, with final hospital outcomes available June 15, 2020)
40 states (US) | 3 provinces (Canada)
Researchers collected self-reported survey data using the Research Electronic Data Capture (REDCap) system | Outreach traditional and through social media
Nonhospitalized | ≤4 days of symptoms with
Laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 or COVID-19–compatible symptoms and in contact with COVID-19 positive individual
Symptomatic health care workers with high-risk exposure but whose contact had PCR results pending were also included
Randomized 1:1 to the following
Oral hydroxychloroquine: 800 mg once, followed by 600 mg in 6 to 8 hours, then 600 mg daily for 4 more days
Symptoms and severity at baseline and then at days 3, 5, 10, and 14
Assessed using a 10-point visual analogue scale
The primary end point was changed to an overall symptom severity score over the course of 14 days
423 contributed primary end point data (out of 491 randomized)
Median age: 40 years | 56% women | Identified as Black or African American were underrepresented (3%)
Enrolled within 1 day of onset of symptoms: 56% (236 of 423)
Change in symptom severity over 14 days did not differ between groups
Absolute difference in symptom severity: −0.27 points (95% CI, −0.61 to 0.07 points; P=0.117)
There was no difference in proportion of patients with ongoing symptoms at 14 days (P=0.21)
Medication adverse effects were more frequent with hydroxychloroquine (P < 0.001)
There was no significant difference in hospitalization or death (P = 0.29)
Hydroxychloroquine: 4 hospitalizations occurred | 1 nonhospitalized death
Placebo: 10 hospitalizations (2 non–COVID-19–related) | 1 hospitalized death
The authors note that the population was relatively young, with few comorbid conditions and therefore these outcomes may not be generalizable to all population groups | A substantial proportion of patients were enrolled based on symptoms and not SARS-CoV-2 testing (due to limited availability)
The authors conclude that
Hydroxychloroquine did not substantially reduce symptom severity in outpatients with early, mild COVID-19
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