Outcomes in patients with severe COVID-19 disease treated with tocilizumab: a case-controlled study
© The Author(s) 2020. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Association of Physicians. All rights reserved. For permissions, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org. BACKGROUND: COVID-19 is an ongoing threat to society. Patients who develop the most severe forms of the disease have high mortality. The interleukin-6 inhibitor tocilizumab has the potential to improve outcomes in these patients by preventing the development of cytokine release storm. AIMS: To evaluate the outcomes of patients with severe COVID-19 disease treated with the interleukin-6 inhibitor tocilizumab. METHODS: We conducted a retrospective, case-control, single-center study in patients with severe to critical COVID-19 disease treated with tocilizumab. Disease severity was defined based on the amount of oxygen supplementation required. The primary endpoint was the overall mortality. Secondary endpoints were mortality in non-intubated patients and mortality in intubated patients. RESULTS: A total of 193 patients were included in the study. Ninety-six patients received tocilizumab, while 97 served as the control group. The mean age was 60 years. Patients over 65 years represented 43% of the population. More patients in the tocilizumab group reported fever, cough and shortness of breath (83%, 80% and 96% vs. 73%, 69% and 71%, respectively). There was a non-statistically significant lower mortality in the treatment group (52% vs. 62.1%, P = 0.09). When excluding intubated patients, there was statistically significant lower mortality in patients treated with tocilizumab (6% vs. 27%, P = 0.024). Bacteremia was more common in the control group (24% vs. 13%, P = 0.43), while fungemia was similar for both (3% vs. 4%, P = 0.72). CONCLUSION: Our study showed a non-statistically significant lower mortality in patients with severe to critical COVID-19 disease who received tocilizumab. When intubated patients were excluded, the use of tocilizumab was associated with lower mortality.
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School of Medicine