Ann Intern Med. 2021 Aug 17. doi: 10.7326/M21-0857. Online ahead of print.
BACKGROUND: Relatively little is known about the use patterns of potential pharmacologic treatments of COVID-19 in the United States.
OBJECTIVE: To use the National COVID Cohort Collaborative (N3C), a large, multicenter, longitudinal cohort, to characterize the use of hydroxychloroquine, remdesivir, and dexamethasone, overall as well as across individuals, health systems, and time.
DESIGN: Retrospective cohort study.
SETTING: 43 health systems in the United States.
PARTICIPANTS: 137 870 adults hospitalized with COVID-19 between 1 February 2020 and 28 February 2021.
MEASUREMENTS: Inpatient use of hydroxychloroquine, remdesivir, or dexamethasone.
RESULTS: Among 137 870 persons hospitalized with confirmed or suspected COVID-19, 8754 (6.3%) received hydroxychloroquine, 29 272 (21.2%) remdesivir, and 53 909 (39.1%) dexamethasone during the study period. Since the release of results from the RECOVERY (Randomised Evaluation of COVID-19 Therapy) trial in mid-June, approximately 78% to 84% of people who have had invasive mechanical ventilation have received dexamethasone or other glucocorticoids. The use of hydroxychloroquine increased during March 2020, peaking at 42%, and started declining by April 2020. By contrast, remdesivir and dexamethasone use gradually increased over the study period. Dexamethasone and remdesivir use varied substantially across health centers (intraclass correlation coefficient, 14.2% for dexamethasone and 84.6% for remdesivir).
LIMITATION: Because most N3C data contributors are academic medical centers, findings may not reflect the experience of community hospitals.
CONCLUSION: Dexamethasone, an evidence-based treatment of COVID-19, may be underused among persons who are mechanically ventilated. The use of remdesivir and dexamethasone varied across health systems, suggesting variation in patient case mix, drug access, treatment protocols, and quality of care.
PRIMARY FUNDING SOURCE: National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences; National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute; and National Institute on Aging.