Clinical Outcomes of Early Treatment With Doxycycline for 89 High-Risk COVID-19 Patients in Long-Term Care Facilities in New York

Cureus. 2020 Aug 11;12(8):e9658. doi: 10.7759/cureus.9658.


Rationale Due to the cluster and associated comorbidities in residents of long-term care facilities (LTCFs), COVID-19-associated morbidity and mortality are significantly increased. Multiple therapeutic options, including hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) and azithromycin (AZI), were tried initially to treat moderate to severe COVID-19 and high-risk patients in LTCFs, but they were abandoned due to unfavorable reports. As a less toxic option, we initiated treatment with doxycycline (DOXY) very early in the course of illness. DOXY has antiviral, cardioprotective, immunomodulatory, and anti-inflammatory properties, but the efficacy of early intervention with DOXY in high-risk COVID-19 patients in LTCFs is unknown. Objective The goal of this retrospective study is to describe the clinical outcomes of high-risk COVID-19 patients with moderate to severe symptoms in LTCFs after early intervention with DOXY. Design Case-series analysis Setting LTCFs in New York Participants This observational study examines 89 patients who were diagnosed with COVID-19 from March 18 to May 13, 2020. Exposure All patients who were diagnosed with COVID-19 received DOXY and regular standard of care within 12 hours of the onset of symptoms. Additionally, four patients received meropenem, three patients received Zosyn, two patients received linezolid, and two patients received Bactrim DS. Four patients were on chronic ventilator support. No patients received any steroids or any other antiviral or immunomodulatory agents. The majority of the patients received zinc and calcium supplements as well. Main outcomes and measures Assessed measures were patients' characteristics, fever, shortness of breath (SOB), cough, oxygen saturation/pulse oximetry (POX), radiologic improvements, laboratory tests, DOXY side effects, hospital transfers, and death. Results Eighty-nine (89) high-risk patients, who developed a sudden onset of fever, cough, SOB, and hypoxia and were diagnosed with COVID-19, were treated with DOXY (100 mg PO or intravenous (IV) for seven days) and regular standard of care. Eighty-five percent (85%) of patients (n=76) demonstrated clinical recovery that is defined as resolution of fever (average 3.7 days, Coeff = -0.96, p = 0.0001), resolution of SOB (average 4.2 days), and improvement of POX: average 84% before treatment and average 95% after treatment (84.7 ± 7% vs. 95 ± 2.6%, p = 0.0001). Higher pre- and post-treatment POX is associated with lower mortality (oxygen saturation (Spo2) vs. Death, Coeff = -0.01, p = 0.023; post-Spo2 vs. Death, Coeff = -0.05, p = 0.0002). Within 10 days of symptom onset, 3% of patients (n=3) were transferred to hospital due to clinical deterioration and 11% of patients (n=10) died. The result was followed for 30 days from the onset of symptoms in each patient. Conclusion Early treatment with DOXY for high-risk patients with moderate to severe COVID-19 infections in non-hospital settings, such as LTCFs, is associated with early clinical recovery, decreased hospitalization, and decreased mortality.

Keywords: covid-19; doxycycline; long-term care facility; treatment.