Pilot prospective open, single-arm multicentre study on off-label use of tocilizumab in severe patients with COVID-19.

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Pilot prospective open, single-arm multicentre study on off-label use of tocilizumab in severe patients with COVID-19.

Clin Exp Rheumatol. 2020 May 01;

Authors: Sciascia S, Aprà F, Baffa A, Baldovino S, Boaro D, Boero R, Bonora S, Calcagno A, Cecchi I, Cinnirella G, Converso M, Cozzi M, Crosasso P, De Iaco F, Di Perri G, Eandi M, Fenoglio R, Giusti M, Imperiale D, Imperiale G, Livigni S, Manno E, Massara C, Milone V, Natale G, Navarra M, Oddone V, Osella S, Piccioni P, Radin M, Roccatello D, Rossi D

Abstract
OBJECTIVES: No agent has yet been proven to be effective for the treatment of severe patients with COVID-19.
METHODS: We conducted a pilot prospective open, single-arm multicentre study on off-label use of tocilizumab (TCZ) involving 63 hospitalised adult patients (56 males, age 62.6±12.5) with severe COVID-19. Clinical and laboratory parameters were prospectively collected at baseline, day 1, 2, 7 and 14. No moderate-to severe adverse events attributable to TCZ were recorded.
RESULTS: We observed a significant improvement in the levels of ferritin, C-reactive protein, D-dimer. The ratio of the partial pressure of oxygen (Pa02) to the fraction of inspired oxygen (Fi02) improved (mean±SD Pa02/Fi02 at admission: 152±53; at day 7: 283.73 ± 115.9, at day 14: 302.2 ± 126, p<0.05). The overall mortality was 11%; D-dimer level at baseline, but not IL-6 levels were predictors of mortality. TCZ administration within 6 days from admission in the hospital was associated with an increased likelihood of survival (HR 2.2 95%CI 1.3-6.7, p<0.05).
CONCLUSIONS: In hospitalised adult patients with severe COVID-19, TCZ could be a safe option. An improvement in respiratory and laboratory parameters was observed. Future controlled trials in patients with severe illness are urgently needed to confirm the definite benefit with IL-6 target therapy.

PMID: 32359035 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

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