Pharmacogenetic variants and risk of remdesivir-associated liver enzyme elevations in Million Veteran Program participants hospitalized with COVID-19

Clin Transl Sci. 2022 Jun 9. doi: 10.1111/cts.13313. Online ahead of print.


Remdesivir is the first US Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved drug for the treatment of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). We conducted a retrospective pharmacogenetic study to examine remdesivir-associated liver enzyme elevation among Million Veteran Program participants hospitalized with COVID-19 between March 15, 2020, and June 30, 2021. Pharmacogene phenotypes were assigned using Stargazer. Linear regression was performed on peak log-transformed enzyme values, stratified by population, adjusted for age, sex, baseline liver enzymes, comorbidities, and 10 population-specific principal components. Patients on remdesivir had higher peak alanine aminotransferase (ALT) values following treatment initiation compared with patients not receiving remdesivir. Remdesivir administration was associated with a 33% and 24% higher peak ALT in non-Hispanic White (NHW) and non-Hispanic Black (NHB) participants (p < 0.001), respectively. In a multivariable model, NHW CYP2C19 intermediate/poor metabolizers had a 9% increased peak ALT compared with NHW normal/rapid/ultrarapid metabolizers (p = 0.015); this association was not observed in NHB participants. In summary, remdesivir-associated ALT elevations appear to be multifactorial, and further studies are needed.