Ann Intern Med. 2023 Jan;176(1):77-84. doi: 10.7326/M22-2141. Epub 2022 Dec 13.
BACKGROUND: In the EPIC-HR (Evaluation of Protease Inhibition for Covid-19 in High-Risk Patients) trial, nirmatrelvir plus ritonavir led to an 89% reduction in hospitalization or death among unvaccinated outpatients with early COVID-19. The clinical impact of nirmatrelvir plus ritonavir among vaccinated populations is uncertain.
OBJECTIVE: To assess whether nirmatrelvir plus ritonavir reduces risk for hospitalization or death among outpatients with early COVID-19 in the setting of prevalent SARS-CoV-2 immunity and immune-evasive SARS-CoV-2 lineages.
DESIGN: Population-based cohort study analyzed to emulate a clinical trial using inverse probability-weighted models to account for anticipated bias in treatment.
SETTING: A large health care system providing care for 1.5 million patients in Massachusetts and New Hampshire during the Omicron wave (1 January to 17 July 2022).
PATIENTS: 44 551 nonhospitalized adults (90.3% with ≥3 vaccine doses) aged 50 years or older with COVID-19 and no contraindications for nirmatrelvir plus ritonavir.
MEASUREMENTS: The primary outcome was a composite of hospitalization within 14 days or death within 28 days of a COVID-19 diagnosis.
RESULTS: During the study period, 12 541 (28.1%) patients were prescribed nirmatrelvir plus ritonavir, and 32 010 (71.9%) were not. Patients prescribed nirmatrelvir plus ritonavir were more likely to be older, have more comorbidities, and be vaccinated. The composite outcome of hospitalization or death occurred in 69 (0.55%) patients who were prescribed nirmatrelvir plus ritonavir and 310 (0.97%) who were not (adjusted risk ratio, 0.56 [95% CI, 0.42 to 0.75]). Recipients of nirmatrelvir plus ritonavir had lower risk for hospitalization (adjusted risk ratio, 0.60 [CI, 0.44 to 0.81]) and death (adjusted risk ratio, 0.29 [CI, 0.12 to 0.71]).
LIMITATION: Potential residual confounding due to differential access to COVID-19 vaccines, diagnostic tests, and treatment.
CONCLUSION: The overall risk for hospitalization or death was already low (1%) after an outpatient diagnosis of COVID-19, but nirmatrelvir plus ritonavir reduced this risk further.
PRIMARY FUNDING SOURCE: National Institutes of Health.
PMID:36508742 | PMC:PMC9753458 | DOI:10.7326/M22-2141