As yet, no agents have been approved for the treatment of COVID-19, although several experimental drugs are being used off licence. These may have serious adverse effects and potential drug interactions with psychotropic agents. We reviewed the common agents being used across the world for the treatment of COVID-19 and investigated their drug interaction potential with psychotropic agents using several drug interaction databases and resources. A preliminary search identified the following drugs as being used to treat COVID-19 symptoms: atazanavir (ATV), azithromycin (AZI), chloroquine (CLQ)/hydroxychloroquine (HCLQ), dipyridamole, famotidine (FAM), favipiravir, lopinavir/ritonavir (LPV/r), nitazoxanide, remdesivir, ribavirin and tocilizumab. Many serious adverse effects and potential drug interactions with psychotropic agents were identified. The most problematic agents were found to be ATV, AZI, CLQ, HCLQ, FAM and LPV/r in terms of both pharmacokinetic as well as serious pharmacodynamic drug interactions, including QTc prolongation and neutropenia. Significant caution should be exercised if using any of the medications being trialled for the treatment of COVID-19 until robust clinical trial data are available. An even higher threshold of vigilance should be maintained for patients with pre-existing conditions and older adults due to added toxicity and drug interactions, especially with psychotropic agents.
Keywords: adverse effects; drug-interactions; psychotropic drugs; treatment COVID-19.
© The Author(s), 2020.