NIH panel releases COVID-19 treatment, pharmaceutical intervention guidelines

A panel of experts from the National Institutes of Health published treatment guidelines for COVID-19, including a list of recommendations for pharmacologic interventions and considerations for using therapeutic options that are under investigation.

The guidelines emphasize that even though there are several potential treatments being tested, no drug has been approved for the treatment of COVID-19.

For many of the treatments discussed, the panel didn't recommend for or against the use of drugs because of a lack of sufficient data on the drug's effect on COVID-19.

For example, due to the lack of clinical trial data, the panel didn't recommend either for or against the use of chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine for the treatment of COVID-19. 

However, the panel recommended against using hydroxychloroquine in combination with azithromycin due to potential side effects.

The panel also recommended against using several other treatments, including:

  • Angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors and angiotensin receptor blockers for the treatment of COVID-19
  • Systemic corticosteroids for the treatment of ventilated patients with COVID-19 without acute respiratory distress syndrome
  • Systemic corticosteroids for hospitalized, noncritically ill patients with COVID-19, unless they are in the intensive care unit
  • Statins for the treatment of COVID-19 outside the setting of a clinical trial 
  • Lopinavir, ritonavir or other HIV protease inhibitors for the treatment of COVID-19 due to "unfavorable pharmacodynamics and negative clinical trial data."
  • Interferons, because they were not effective against severe acute respiratory syndrome and Middle East respiratory syndrome
  • Janus kinase inhibitors because of "their broad immunosuppressive effect."
  • Antenatal corticosteroids for fetal benefit in the late preterm period "because the benefits of antenatal corticosteroids in the late preterm period are less well established."

The panel said it would update the guidelines as more data becomes available. 

Access the full list of guidelines here.

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