Assessing medication use patterns in patients hospitalised with COVID-19: a retrospective study

EAVE II collaboration, Tanja Mueller, Amanj Kurdi, Elliott Hall, Ian Bullard, Jo Wapshott, Anna Goodfellow, Niketa Platt, Euan Proud, Stuart McTaggart, Marion Bennie, Aziz Sheikh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

OBJECTIVE: To describe patterns of medication use-that is, dexamethasone; remdesivir; and tocilizumab-in the management of patients hospitalised with COVID-19.

DESIGN AND SETTING: Retrospective observational study, using routinely collected, linked electronic data from clinical practice in Scotland. Data on drug exposure in secondary care has been obtained from the Hospital Electronic Prescribing and Medicines Administration System.

PARTICIPANTS: Patients being treated with the drugs of interest and hospitalised for COVID-19 between 1 March 2020 and 10 November 2021.

OUTCOMES: Identification of patients subject to the treatments of interest; summary of patients' baseline characteristics; description of medication use patterns and treatment episodes. Analyses were descriptive in nature.

RESULTS: Overall, 4063 patients matching the inclusion criteria were identified in Scotland, with a median (IQR) age of 64 years (52-76). Among all patients, 81.4% (n=3307) and 17.8% (n=725) were treated with one or two medicines, respectively; dexamethasone monotherapy accounted for the majority (n=3094, 76.2%) followed by dexamethasone in combination with tocilizumab (n=530, 13.0%). Treatment patterns were variable over time but roughly followed the waves of COVID-19 infections; however, the different drugs were used to varying degrees during the study period.The median (IQR) treatment duration differed by medicine: dexamethasone 5 days (2-9); remdesivir 5 days (2-5); and tocilizumab 1 day (1-1). The overall median (IQR) length of hospital stay among all patients included in the study cohort was 9 days (5-17); 24.7% of patients died in hospital.

CONCLUSION: The use of adjuvant medicines in patients hospitalised with COVID-19 appears in line with evolving evidence and changing treatment guidelines. In-hospital electronic prescribing systems are a valuable source of information, providing detailed patient-level data on in-hospital drug use.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e064320
JournalBMJ Open
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 5 Dec 2022

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Aged
  • COVID-19
  • Retrospective Studies
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Length of Stay
  • Dexamethasone/therapeutic use


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