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10.08.2020 | main topic | Ausgabe 7-8/2021

Wiener klinische Wochenschrift 7-8/2021

Hydroxychloroquine versus lopinavir/ritonavir in severe COVID-19 patients

Results from a real-life patient cohort

Wiener klinische Wochenschrift > Ausgabe 7-8/2021
Mario Karolyi, Erich Pawelka, Theresa Mader, Sara Omid, Hasan Kelani, Sarah Ely, Bernd Jilma, Sebastian Baumgartner, Hermann Laferl, Clemens Ott, Marianna Traugott, Michael Turner, Tamara Seitz, Christoph Wenisch, Alexander Zoufaly
Wichtige Hinweise
The authors M. Karolyi and E. Pawelka contributed equally to the manuscript.

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Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection is associated with a high mortality. To date no trial comparing hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) and lopinavir/ritonavir (LPV/RTV) has been performed.


Hospitalized patients ≥18 years old with severe coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) were treated with either HCQ or LPV/RTV if they had either respiratory insufficiency (SpO2 ≤ 93% on room air or the need for oxygen insufflation) or bilateral consolidations on chest X‑ray and at least 2 comorbidities associated with poor COVID-19 prognosis. Outcomes investigated included in-hospital mortality, intensive care unit (ICU) admission, length of stay, PCR (polymerase chain reaction) negativity and side effects of treatment.


Of 156 patients (41% female) with a median age of 72 years (IQR 55.25–81) admitted to our department, 67 patients fulfilled the inclusion criteria (20 received HCQ, 47 LPV/RTV). Groups were comparable regarding most baseline characteristics. Median time from symptom onset to treatment initiation was 8 days and was similar between the groups (p = 0.727). There was no significant difference (HCQ vs. LPV/RTV) in hospital mortality (15% vs. 8.5%, p = 0.418), ICU admission rate (20% vs. 12.8%, p = 0.470) and length of stay (9 days vs. 11 days, p = 0.340). A PCR negativity from nasopharyngeal swabs was observed in approximately two thirds of patients in both groups. Side effects led to treatment discontinuation in 15% of patients in the LPV/RTV group.


No statistically significant differences were observed in outcome parameters in patients treated with HCQ or LPV/RTV but patients in the LPV/RTV group showed a numerically lower hospital mortality rate. Additionally, in comparison to other studies we demonstrated a lower mortality in patients treated with LPV/RTV despite having similar patient groups, perhaps due to early initiation of treatment.

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