Common COVID drug may be helpful at low dose – Consumer Health News

THURSDAY, March 24, 2022 (HealthDay News) — A lower dose of a widely used COVID-19 drug is just as effective as a higher dose, new research shows.

Tocilizumab (Actemra) is a rheumatoid arthritis drug that has become the standard of care for treating severe COVID-19, but high demand and production limitations have led to drug shortages in many countries.

These results suggest that twice as many patients could be treated using lower doses of the monoclonal antibody, the researchers said.

They analyzed data from the province of British Columbia in Canada, which was facing a shortage of tocilizumab and changed from the standard weight-based dose of 8 milligrams per kilogram of body weight to a fixed dose of 400 milligrams , which is about half the average typical dose for adults.

The research team, which included scientists from Yale University, compared the results of three groups of COVID patients: 40 who received the weight-based dose, 59 who received the fixed dose and 53 who did not. did not receive tocilizumab and acted as a control group.

Among patients who received either dose of tocilizumab, measures of inflammation fell by more than 90% within five days, which was significantly greater than in the control group.

The 28-day mortality rates were similar in the three groups of patients, according to the study published March 23 in the journal Lancet Regional Health – Americas.

“What was really significant was the lack of significance,” said study co-first author Sophie Stukas, a research associate at the University of British Columbia.

“Between the two doses, we also found no differences in the number of patients requiring ventilation, the number of life-saving therapies needed, or the length of stay in the intensive care unit,” Stukas said in a press release from Yale University. .

The team also conducted a cost analysis and concluded that lower doses of tocilizumab are cost-effective when supplies are limited.

“An important thing to keep in mind is that this study was done out of necessity. We just didn’t have enough medicine,” said study lead author Dr. Luke Chen, associate professor clinic at the University of British Columbia.

“If you have enough drugs, you should use them as they have been studied,” Chen said in the statement. “But this strategy was able to get us through the worst times of the pandemic and the worst part of the drug shortages.”

More information

For more on COVID-19 treatment, see the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

From articles on your site

Related articles on the web