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17-07-2020 | Rheumatology | Main feed | Article

News in brief

Trial suggests no benefit of hydroxychloroquine for early, mild COVID-19

Author: Claire Barnard

medwireNews: Hydroxychloroquine does not reduce symptom severity in outpatients with early COVID-19, suggest findings from a randomized controlled trial (RCT) conducted in the USA and Canada.

As reported in the Annals of Internal Medicine, the change in symptom severity over 14 days was comparable among the 212 patients with confirmed or probable SARS-CoV-2 infection who were randomly assigned to receive hydroxychloroquine (800 mg, followed by 600 mg 6–8 hours later, then 600 mg/day for an additional 4 days) and the 211 participants who were instead given placebo, with mean reductions on a 10-point visual analog scale of 2.60 and 2.33 points, respectively.

David Boulware (University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, USA) and co-researchers found that adverse events (AEs) occurred more frequently among hydroxychloroquine- versus placebo-treated patients over the 5-day treatment period, at rates of 43% versus 22%. Gastrointestinal symptoms were the most frequently reported AEs among hydroxychloroquine-treated patients.

Writing in an accompanying editorial, Neil Schluger (New York Medical College, Valhalla, USA) says that “[t]aken together with the other published RCTs, the current study […] provides strong evidence that hydroxychloroquine offers no benefit in patients with mild illness.”

He adds: “Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic is far from over, but the emergence of data from well-done RCTs is a welcome development,” and such studies “set an example for how we should search for effective therapies.”

“It is time to move on from hydroxychloroquine,” he concludes.

medwireNews is an independent medical news service provided by Springer Healthcare. © 2020 Springer Healthcare part of the Springer Nature Group

17 July 2020: The coronavirus pandemic is affecting all healthcare professionals across the globe. Medicine Matters’ focus, in this difficult time, is the dissemination of the latest data to support you in your research and clinical practice, based on the scientific literature. We will update the information we provide on the site, as the data are published. However, please refer to your own professional and governmental guidelines for the latest guidance in your own country.

Ann Intern Med 2020; doi:10.7326/M20-4207
Ann Intern Med 2020; doi:10.7326/M20-5041