An evaluation of co-use of chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine plus azithromycin on cardiac outcomes: A pharmacoepidemiological study to inform use during the COVID19 pandemic.
Res Social Adm Pharm. 2020 Apr 30;:
Authors: Vouri SM, Thai TN, Winterstein AG
BACKGROUND: Chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine (chloroquine) plus azithromycin is considered as therapy for COVID-19. With benefit evaluations underway, safety concerns due to potential additive effects on QTc prolongation should be addressed.
OBJECTIVE: We compared risk of cardiac adverse events between combinations of chloroquine and azithromycin and chloroquine and amoxicillin.
METHODS: We conducted a retrospective cohort study using the IBM MarketScan Commercial Claims and Medicare Supplemental Databases, 2005-2018. We included autoimmune disease patients aged ≥18 years initiating azithromycin or amoxicillin for ≥5 days during chloroquine treatment. Patients had continuous insurance coverage ≥6 months before combination use until 5 days thereafter or inpatient death. Two outcomes were sudden cardiac arrest/ventricular arrhythmias (SCA/VA) and cardiac symptoms. We followed patients for up to 5 days to estimate hazard ratios (HR). Covariates were adjusted using stabilized inverse probability treatment weighting.
RESULTS: We identified two SVC/VA events among >145,000 combination users. The adjusted incidence of cardiac symptoms among azithromycin and amoxicillin users was 276 vs 254 per 10,000 person-years with an adjusted HR of 1.10 (95%CI, 0.62-1.95).
CONCLUSION: Combination use of chloroquine and azithromycin at routine doses did not show pronounced increases in arrhythmias in this real-world population, though small sample size and outcome rates limit conclusions.
PMID: 32409150 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]