Posted: 2021-09-10 19:00:00
Objective: To evaluate the effectiveness of Tocilizumab (with or without corticosteroids) in a real-life context among moderate-to-severe COVID-19 patients hospitalized at the Infectious Diseases ward of two hospitals in Lazio region, Italy, during the first wave of SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. Method: We conducted a retrospective cohort study among moderate-to-severe COVID-19 pneumonia to assess the influence of tocilizumab (with or without corticosteroids) on: 1) primary composite outcome: risk for death/invasive mechanical ventilation/ICU-transfer at 14 days from hospital admission; 2) secondary outcome: COVID-related death only. Both outcomes were also assessed at 28 days and restricted to baseline more severe cases. We also evaluated the safety of tocilizumab. Results: Overall, 412 patients were recruited, being affected by mild (6.8%), moderate (66.3%) or severe (26.9%) COVID-19 at baseline. The median participant' age was 63 years, 56.5% were men, the sum of comorbidities was 1.34 (±1.44), and the median time from symptom onset to hospital admission was 7 [3-10] days. Patients were subdivided in 4 treatment groups: standard of care (SoC) only (n = 172), SoC plus corticosteroid (n = 65), SoC plus tocilizumab (n = 50), SoC plus tocilizumab and corticosteroid (n = 125). Twenty-six (6.3%) patients underwent intubation, and 37 (9%) COVID-related deaths were recorded. After adjusting for several factors, multivariate analysis showed that tocilizumab (with or without corticosteroids) was associated to improved primary and secondary outcomes at 14 days, and at 28-days only when tocilizumab administered without corticosteroid. Among more severe cases the protective effect of tocilizumab (± corticosteroids) was observed at both time-points. No safety concerns were recorded. Conclusion: Although contrasting results from randomized clinical trials to date, in our experience tocilizumab was a safe and efficacious therapeutic option for patients with moderate-to-severe COVID-19 pneumonia. Its efficacy was improved by the concomitant administration of corticosteroids in patients affected by severe-COVID-19 pneumonia at baseline.
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