What are the clinical effects of the anti-inflammatory medication tocilizumab on patients with COVID-19?

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Bottom Line:

The use tocilizumab was associated with lower mortality; however, tocilizumab did not show improvement in patients with severe to critical COVID-19.

Reference:

Rojas-Marte, G.R. et al. Outcomes in patients with severe COVID-19 disease treated with Tocilizumab – A case- Controlled study. QJM: An International Journal of Medicine (2020). https://doi.org/10.1093/qjmed/hcaa206

Date Published:

22 June 2020

Synopsis:

The use of tocilizumab, a medication that blocks the inflammatory molecule interleukin-6, has demonstrated some benefits in treating COVID-19. In this retrospective study, a total of 193 patients were included, with 96 receiving tocilizumab and 97 acting as controls. More patients in the tocilizumab group were reported to have severe symptoms including fever, cough, and shortness of breath. These same patients demonstrated no significant benefits in lowering mortality with tocilizumab. When excluding patients that were intubated (i.e. severe patients) however, the use of tocilizumab was shown to have significant results in decreasing mortality. Together, further randomized clinical trials are required to validate these findings and to further elucidate the effects of tocilizumab.

Summary by: Edwin Wong