JAMA Netw Open. 2021 Jul 1;4(7):e2114741. doi: 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2021.14741.
IMPORTANCE: Randomized clinical trials have yielded conflicting results about the effects of remdesivir therapy on survival and length of hospital stay among people with COVID-19.
OBJECTIVE: To examine associations between remdesivir treatment and survival and length of hospital stay among people hospitalized with COVID-19 in routine care settings.
DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS: This retrospective cohort study used data from the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) to identify adult patients in 123 VHA hospitals who had a first hospitalization with laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 from May 1 to October 8, 2020. Propensity score matching of patients initiating remdesivir treatment to control patients who had not initiated remdesivir treatment by the same hospital day was used to create the analytic cohort.
EXPOSURES: Remdesivir treatment.
MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES: Time to death within 30 days of remdesivir treatment initiation (or corresponding hospital day for matched control individuals) and time to hospital discharge with time to death as a competing event. Associations between remdesivir treatment and these outcomes were assessed using Cox proportional hazards regression in the matched cohort.
RESULTS: The initial cohort included 5898 patients admitted to 123 hospitals, 2374 (40.3%) of whom received remdesivir treatment (2238 men [94.3%]; mean [SD] age, 67.8 [12.8] years) and 3524 (59.7%) of whom never received remdesivir treatment (3302 men [93.7%]; mean [SD] age, 67.0 [14.4] years). After propensity score matching, the analysis included 1172 remdesivir recipients and 1172 controls, for a final matched cohort of 2344 individuals. Remdesivir recipients and matched controls were similar with regard to age (mean [SD], 66.6 [14.2] years vs 67.5 [14.1] years), sex (1101 men [93.9%] vs 1101 men [93.9%]), dexamethasone use (559 [47.7%] vs 559 [47.7%]), admission to the intensive care unit (242 [20.7%] vs 234 [19.1%]), and mechanical ventilation use (69 [5.9%] vs 45 [3.8%]). Standardized differences were less than 10% for all measures. Remdesivir treatment was not associated with 30-day mortality (143 remdesivir recipients [12.2%] vs 124 controls [10.6%]; log rank P = .26; adjusted hazard ratio [HR], 1.06; 95% CI, 0.83-1.36). Results were similar for people receiving vs not receiving dexamethasone at remdesivir initiation (dexamethasone recipients: adjusted HR, 0.93; 95% CI, 0.64-1.35; nonrecipients: adjusted HR, 1.19; 95% CI, 0.84-1.69). Remdesivir recipients had a longer median time to hospital discharge compared with matched controls (6 days [interquartile range, 4-12 days] vs 3 days [interquartile range, 1-7 days]; P < .001).
CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: In this cohort study of US veterans hospitalized with COVID-19, remdesivir treatment was not associated with improved survival but was associated with longer hospital stays. Routine use of remdesivir may be associated with increased use of hospital beds while not being associated with improvements in survival.