Background and aims: Coronavirus pandemic is currently a global public health emergency with no definitive treatment guidelines. We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of the literature evaluating the efficacy of hydroxychloroquine and its related formulations in COVID-19 patients.
Methods: A systematic search of PubMed, Scopus, MedRxiv data and Cochrane Central Register of Clinical Trials for published articles that reported the outcomes of COVID-19 patients treated with hydroxychloroquine or its compounds was done. We identified 1071 published studies and 7 studies were included in the analysis.
Results: The study population consisted of a total of 4984 patients, of which 1721 (34.5%) received hydroxychloroquine or its congeners (HCQ group) while 3091 (62.01%) received standard of care or had included antiviral medication (control group). The pooled estimate of successful treatment in the hydroxychloroquine group and the control group was 77.45% and 77.87% respectively, which indicated similar clinical outcomes in patients treated with hydroxychloroquine compared to the control group. The odds ratio of a favourable outcome with hydroxychloroquine was 1.11 (95 CI 0.72 to 1.69) (p = 0.20). The pooled risk difference of favourable outcome with hydroxychloroquine versus control group was 0.00 (95 CI -0.03 to 0.03) which was statistically not significant (p = 0.10).
Conclusions: The present evidence shows no benefit of hydroxychloroquine in patients affected by mild to moderate COVID-19 disease. However, now several trials on HCQ are ongoing and hopefully more data will be available soon. Hence, the management of COVID-19 is set to change for better in the future.
Keywords: COVID-19; Chloroquine; Hydroxychloroquine; Mortality; SARS-CoV-2 infection.
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