Expert Rev Clin Pharmacol. 2021 Jun 30. doi: 10.1080/17512433.2021.1949286. Online ahead of print.
Introduction: Tocilizumab is one of the main repurposed therapies investigated for COVID-19 pneumonia since the start of the pandemic, but there has been conflicting evidence for its use.Areas covered: This review covers the physiology of interleukin-6 and its role in the pathophysiology of COVID-19. We discuss the use of tocilizumab in other diseases and the rationale for its use in COVID-19. We summarize the design, contrasting results and implications of the clinical trials of tocilizumab in COVID-19 to date and discuss the current guidance for its use.Expert opinion: The evidence to date suggests benefit with the use of tocilizumab in some but not all patients with COVID-19. Benefit seems to be greatest when given early after clinical deterioration with the presence of systemic inflammation. However questions remain around the optimal timing, patient selection and concomitant treatments.