PLoS One. 2022 Jan 21;17(1):e0261843. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0261843. eCollection 2022.
INTRODUCTION: During the first wave of the coronavirus-disease 2019 (covid-19) pandemic in early 2020, hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) was widely prescribed in light of in vitro activity against severe acute respiratory syndrome-coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2). Our objective was to evaluate in early 2020 the rate of French hospitalists declaring having prescribed HCQ to treat covid-19 patients outside any therapeutic trial, compare the reasons and the determinants for having prescribed HCQ or not.
MATERIAL AND METHODS: A national inquiry submitted by email from May 7 to 25, 2020, to a sample of French hospitalists: doctors managing patients hospitalized for covid-19 in a French department of internal medicine or infectious diseases and identified in the directories of French hospitals or as a member of the French Infectious Diseases Society (SPILF). Primary outcome was the percentage of hospitalists declaring having prescribed HCQ to covid-19 patients. Secondary outcomes were reasons and determinants of HCQ prescription.
RESULTS: Among 400 (22.8%) responding hospitalists, 45.3% (95% CI, 40.4 to 50.1%) declared having prescribed HCQ to covid-19 patients. Two main profiles were discerned: HCQ prescribers who did not raise its efficacy as a motive, and non-prescribers who based their decision on evidence-based medicine. Multivariate analysis retained the following prescription determinants (adjusted odds ratio; 95% confidence interval): a departmental procedure for HCQ prescription (8.25; 4.79 to 14.20), having prescribed other treatments outside a therapeutic trial (3.21; 1.81 to 5.71), prior HCQ prescription (2.75; 1.5 to 5.03) and HCQ prescribed within the framework of a therapeutic trial (0.56; 0.33 to 0.95).
CONCLUSION: Almost half of the hospitalists prescribed HCQ. The physician's personality (questioning or not evidence-based-medicine principles in the context of the pandemic) and departmental therapeutic procedures were the main factors influencing HCQ prescription. Establishment of "therapeutic" procedures represents a potential means to improve the quality of therapeutic decision-making during a pandemic.