Febuxostat therapy in outpatients with suspected COVID-19: A clinical trial

Int J Clin Pract. 2020 Nov;74(11):e13600. doi: 10.1111/ijcp.13600. Epub 2020 Jul 17.


Background: The aim of this clinical trial was to evaluate the effects of febuxostat (FBX) in comparison with hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) on clinical symptoms, laboratory tests and chest CT findings in outpatients with moderate symptoms of COVID-19 infection.

Methods: We conducted a clinical trial involving adult outpatients with the moderate respiratory illness following COVID-19 infection. Patients were randomly assigned to receive either FBX or HCQ for 5 days. The measured variables were needs to hospitalisation, clinical and laboratory data including fever, cough, breathing rate, C-Reactive Protein level, lymphocytes count at onset of admission and was well as at 5 days of treatments. In addition, CT findings were evaluated on admission and 14 days after initiation of treatment.

Results: Sixty subjects were enrolled in the study with a 1 to 1 ratio in FBX and HCQ groups. On admission, fever (66.7%), cough (87%), tachypnoea (44.4%), dyspnoea (35%), elevated CRP value (94.4%) and lung involvement according to chest CT (100%) were documented in enrolled patients with insignificant difference between FBX and HCQ groups. Fever, cough and tachypnoea were significantly mitigated in both groups after five days of treatments without any significant differences between groups. The mean percentages of lung involvement were significantly reduced to 7.3% and 8% after 14 days of treatment with FBX and HCQ, respectively. In adult outpatients with moderate COVID-19 infection, the effectiveness of FBX and HCQ was not different in terms of resolution of clinical manifestations, laboratory tests and lung CT findings.

Conclusion: This trial suggests that FBX is as an alternative treatment to HCQ for COVID-19 infection and may be considered in patients with a contraindication or precaution to HCQ.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Ambulatory Care*
  • Antiviral Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Betacoronavirus* / isolation & purification
  • COVID-19
  • COVID-19 Testing
  • Clinical Laboratory Techniques
  • Coronavirus Infections / diagnosis
  • Coronavirus Infections / drug therapy*
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Febuxostat / therapeutic use*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hydroxychloroquine / therapeutic use*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pandemics
  • Pneumonia, Viral / diagnosis
  • Pneumonia, Viral / drug therapy*
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Antiviral Agents
  • Febuxostat
  • Hydroxychloroquine

Supplementary concepts

  • COVID-19 drug treatment