COVID-19: No benefit found from hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin

  • Rosenberg ES, et al.
  • JAMA
  • 11 May 2020

  • curated by Priscilla Lynch
  • Medical News
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A retrospective study of hospitalised COVID-19 patients found that treatment with hydroxychloroquine, azithromycin, or both was not significantly associated with differences in in-hospital mortality compared with patients who received neither drug.

Cardiac arrest was more frequent in patients treated with both drugs, however, according to the findings published in JAMA.

In 1438 hospitalised patients with COVID-19 (858 [59.7%] male, median age 63 years), those receiving hydroxychloroquine, azithromycin, or both were more likely than those not receiving either drug to have diabetes, respiratory rate >22/min, abnormal chest imaging findings, O2 saturation 40 U/L.

Overall in-hospital mortality was 20.3% (95% CI, 18.2%-22.4%). The probability of death for patients receiving hydroxychloroquine + azithromycin was 189/735 (25.7% [95% CI, 22.3%-28.9%]), hydroxychloroquine alone, 54/271 (19.9% [95% CI, 15.2%-24.7%]), azithromycin alone, 21/211 (10.0% [95% CI, 5.9%-14.0%]), and neither drug, 28/221 (12.7% [95% CI, 8.3%-17.1%]).

In adjusted Cox proportional hazards models, compared with patients receiving neither drug, there were no significant differences in mortality for patients receiving hydroxychloroquine + azithromycin, hydroxychloroquine alone, or azithromycin alone.

In logistic models, compared with patients receiving neither drug, cardiac arrest was significantly more likely in patients receiving hydroxychloroquine + azithromycin, but not hydroxychloroquine alone or azithromycin alone.