Hydroxychloroquine has no impact on outcomes in COVID-19

Hydroxychloroquine is not associated with an increased or decreased risk for intubation or death among patients with COVID-19 admitted to the hospital, according to a study published online May 7 in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Joshua Geleris, M.D., from Columbia University in New York City, and colleagues examined the association between hydroxychloroquine use and intubation or death at a large medical center. Data were included for 1,446 patients with COVID-19; 70 of these patients were intubated, died, or were discharged within 24 hours after presentation and were excluded from the analysis.

The researchers found that during a median follow-up of 22.5 days, 58.9 percent of the remaining 1,376 patients received hydroxychloroquine; 45.8 percent were treated within 24 hours of presentation and 85.9 percent were treated within 48 hours. Overall, 25.1 percent of patients had a primary end point event (intubation or death). No significant association was seen between hydroxychloroquine use and intubation or death in the main analysis (hazard ratio, 1.04; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.82 to 1.32). In multiple sensitivity analyses, the results were similar.

“The study results should not be taken to rule out either benefit or harm of hydroxychloroquine treatment, given the observational design and the 95 percent confidence interval, but the results do not support the use of hydroxychloroquine at present, outside randomized clinical trials testing its efficacy,” the authors write.

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