Infect Dis Ther. 2021 Jul 9. doi: 10.1007/s40121-021-00483-x. Online ahead of print.
INTRODUCTION: As the pandemic progresses, the pathophysiology of COVID-19 is becoming more apparent, and the potential for tocilizumab is increasing. However, the clinical efficacy and safety of tocilizumab in the treatment of COVID-19 patients remain unclear.
METHODS: To assess the efficacy and safety of tocilizumab treatment in COVID-19 patients, we performed a retrospective case-control study. The study was conducted, including 95 patients treated with tocilizumab plus standard treatment and matched controls with 95 patients treated with standard treatment therapy by propensity score from February to April 2020. We searched some databases using the search terms for studies published from January 1, 2020, to June 1, 2021.
RESULTS: Our case-control study found a lower mortality rate in the tocilizumab treatment group than in the standard treatment group (9.47% versus 16.84%, P = 0.134), but the results were not statistically significant. We also found that the mortality rate in tocilizumab treatment groups was significantly lower than in the standard treatment group in the stratified ICU analysis (OR 0.52, 95% CI 0.44-0.61, P = 0.048 and OR 0.31, 95% CI 0.10-0.99, P = 0.044). We selected 49 studies (including 6568 cases and 11,660 controls) that met the inclusion criteria in the meta-analysis. In the overall analysis, we performed a meta-analysis that showed significantly decreased mortality after patients received tocilizumab (OR 0.81, 95% CI 0.69-0.95, P = 0.008). We also revealed significant associations within some subgroups. The sequential trial analysis showed a true-positive result. No significant associations were observed between tocilizumab and elevated secondary infection risk, discharge, adverse events, and mechanical ventilation in the overall analysis.
CONCLUSION: Tocilizumab significantly decreased mortality in COVID-19 patients with no increased discharge, secondary infection risk, adverse events, and mechanical ventilation in a meta-analysis. Our data suggest that clinicians should pay attention to tocilizumab therapy as an effective and safe treatment for COVID-19 patients.