HealthDay News — There is no evidence that use of hydroxychloroquine alone (HC) or with azithromycin (HC+AZ) reduces the risks for mechanical ventilation or death from any cause in patients hospitalized with COVID-19, according to a study that has not yet been peer reviewed and was posted online April 21 at

Joseph Magagnoli, from the Columbia VA Health Care System in South Carolina, and colleagues performed a retrospective analysis of data from 368 patients hospitalized with confirmed severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 infection: 97 treated with HC, 113 with HC+AZ, and 158 with no HC.

The researchers found that the rates of death were 27.8, 22.1, and 11.4 percent, respectively, in the HC, HC+AZ, and no HC groups. The rates of ventilation were 13.3, 6.9, and 14.1 percent in the HC, HC+AZ, and no HC groups, respectively. The risk for death from any cause was higher in the HC group (adjusted hazard ratio [aHR], 2.61; 95 percent confidence interval [CI], 1.10 to 6.17; P = 0.03), but not in the HC+AZ group (aHR, 1.14; 95 percent CI, 0.56 to 2.32; P = 0.72) compared with the no HC group. Compared with the no HC group, the risk for ventilation was similar in the HC group (aHR, 1.43; 95 percent CI, 0.53 to 3.79; P = 0.48) and in the HC+AZ group (aHR, 0.43; 95 percent CI, 0.16 to 1.12; P = 0.09).

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“The findings from this retrospective study suggest caution in using hydroxychloroquine in hospitalized COVID-19 patients, particularly when not combined with azithromycin,” the authors write.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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