Intended for healthcare professionals

Practice Rapid Recommendations

A living WHO guideline on drugs for covid-19

BMJ 2020; 370 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.m3379 (Published 04 September 2020) Cite this as: BMJ 2020;370:m3379
Visual summary of recommendation Last updated 13 Jan 2022
Interventions Population Disease severity Non-severe Severe Critical Requires life sustaining treatment Acute respiratory distress syndrome Sepsis Septic shock Absence of signs of severe or critical disease This recommendation applies only to people with these characteristics: Patients with confirmed covid-19 Oxygen saturation <90% on room air Signs of pneumonia Strong recommendations in favour Weak or conditional recommendations in favour Weak or conditional recommendations against Strong recommendations against Corticosteroids IL-6 receptor blockers Lopinavir-ritonavir Hydroxychloroquine Baricitinib or Convalescentplasma Convalescentplasma Should be considered only in the context of a clinical trial The panel inferred that most patients would want to receive convalescent plasma only in the context of a randomised trial, given the uncertainty around potential benefits and the possibility of harms There are also several practical issues related to the use of convalescent plasma, including but not limited to: Collection of plasma Storage and distribution of plasma Infusion of convalescent plasma into recipients Identification and recruitment of potential donors Corticosteroids Remdesivir Ivermectin Should be considered only in the context of a clinical trial The panel inferred that most patients would want to receive ivermectin only in the context of a randomised trial, given the uncertainty around potential benefits and the possibility of harms Ruxolitinib and tofacitinib Should be considered only if neither baricitinib nor IL-6 receptor blockers are available Sotrovimab For those with highest risk of hospital admission The panel recommended that the intervention should be reserved for those at a risk above 10% of being admitted to hospotal with covid-19.Typical characteristics of people at high risk include: Lack of vaccination Older people Immunodeficiency Chronic diseases such as diabetes Casirivimab and imdevimab For those with highest risk of hospital admission The panel recommended that the intervention should be reserved for those at a risk above 10% of being admitted to hospotal with covid-19.Typical characteristics of people at high risk include: Lack of vaccination Older people Immunodeficiency Chronic diseases such as diabetes Casirivimab and imdevimab For those with seronegative status for SARS-CoV-2 antibodies The benefits of casirivimab and imdevimab are only observed in patients with seronegative status. This requires rapid identification through point of care testing with performance characteristics similar to the reference standard test used in the RECOVERY trial Depending on availability as well as clinical and contextual factors The choice of whether to use baricitinib or an Interleukin-6 (IL-6) receptor blocker depends on availability as well as clinical and contextual factors. These considerations may include: Local hospital policies Route of administration Cost Prior experience and comfort with use of the drugs Signs of severe respiratory distress In adults: Accessory muscle use Inability to complete full sentences Respiratory rate > 30 breaths per minute In children: Very severe chest wall indrawing Grunting Central cyanosis Inability to breastfeed or drink Reduced level of consciousness Lethargy Convulsions

Corticosteroids

Corticosteroids Suggested regimen Acceptable alternative regimens Dexamethasone 6 mg Oral or intravenous Hydrocortisone 50 mg Intravenous Every 8 hours for 7-10 days Daily for7-10 days Every 6 hours for 7-10 days Methylprednisolone 10 mg Intravenous Daily for7-10 days Prednisone 40 mg Oral
Recommendation 1Supportive careCorticosteroidsorPatients with severeor critical covid-19We recommend corticosteroidsStrongAll or nearly all informed people would likelywant the intervention to the left. Benefitswould outweigh harms for almost everyoneWeakMost people would likely want the interventionto the left. Benefits would outweigh harms forthe majority, but not for everyoneWeakMost people would likely want the interventionto the right. Benefits would outweigh harmsfor the majority, but not for everyoneStrongAll or nearly all informed people would likelywant the intervention to the right. Benefitswould outweigh harms for almost everyone
Recommendation 2Supportive careCorticosteroidsorPatients withnon-severe covid-19We suggest no corticosteroidsStrongAll or nearly all informed people would likelywant the intervention to the left. Benefitswould outweigh harms for almost everyoneWeakMost people would likely want the interventionto the left. Benefits would outweigh harms forthe majority, but not for everyoneWeakMost people would likely want the interventionto the right. Benefits would outweigh harmsfor the majority, but not for everyoneStrongAll or nearly all informed people would likelywant the intervention to the right. Benefitswould outweigh harms for almost everyone

Interleukin-6 (IL-6) receptor blockers

Suggested regimen Tocilizumab Max 800 mg 8 mg per kg Intravenous Initial dose over 1 hour or Sarilumab 400 mg Intravenous Initial dose over 1 hour A second dose may be administered after 12 to 48 hours
Recommendation 1Supportive careIL-6 receptor blockersorPatients with severeor critical covid-19We recommend treatment with IL-6 receptor blockers(tocilizumab or sarilumab)StrongAll or nearly all informed people would likelywant the intervention to the left. Benefitswould outweigh harms for almost everyoneWeakMost people would likely want the interventionto the left. Benefits would outweigh harms forthe majority, but not for everyoneWeakMost people would likely want the interventionto the right. Benefits would outweigh harmsfor the majority, but not for everyoneStrongAll or nearly all informed people would likelywant the intervention to the right. Benefitswould outweigh harms for almost everyone

Janus kinase (JAK) inhibitors

Suggested regimen Baricitinib 4 mg Oral Daily Ruxolitinib 5 mg Oral Twice daily Tofacitinib 10 mg Oral Twice daily For 14 days or until hospital discharge
Recommendation 1Supportive careBaricitiniborPatients with severeor critical covid-19We recommend treatment with baricitinibStrongAll or nearly all informed people would likelywant the intervention to the left. Benefitswould outweigh harms for almost everyoneWeakMost people would likely want the interventionto the left. Benefits would outweigh harms forthe majority, but not for everyoneWeakMost people would likely want the interventionto the right. Benefits would outweigh harmsfor the majority, but not for everyoneStrongAll or nearly all informed people would likelywant the intervention to the right. Benefitswould outweigh harms for almost everyone
Recommendation 2Supportive careRuxolitiniborPatients with severeor critical covid-19We suggest not using ruxolitinibStrongAll or nearly all informed people would likelywant the intervention to the left. Benefitswould outweigh harms for almost everyoneWeakMost people would likely want the interventionto the left. Benefits would outweigh harms forthe majority, but not for everyoneWeakMost people would likely want the interventionto the right. Benefits would outweigh harmsfor the majority, but not for everyoneStrongAll or nearly all informed people would likelywant the intervention to the right. Benefitswould outweigh harms for almost everyone
Recommendation 3Supportive careTofacitiniborPatients with severeor critical covid-19We suggest not using tofacitinibStrongAll or nearly all informed people would likelywant the intervention to the left. Benefitswould outweigh harms for almost everyoneWeakMost people would likely want the interventionto the left. Benefits would outweigh harms forthe majority, but not for everyoneWeakMost people would likely want the interventionto the right. Benefits would outweigh harmsfor the majority, but not for everyoneStrongAll or nearly all informed people would likelywant the intervention to the right. Benefitswould outweigh harms for almost everyone

Monoclonal antibodies

Suggested regimen Casirivimab and imdevimab One off dose 1200-2400 mg Casirivimab and imdevimab One off dose 2400-8000 mg – total dose – total dose Intravenous or subcutaneuous Intravenous People with non-severe disease People with severe or critical disease
Recommendation 1Supportive careMonoclonal antibodiesorPatients withnon-severe covid-19We suggest treatment with casirivimab and imdevimab,for those at highest risk of hospital admissionStrongAll or nearly all informed people would likelywant the intervention to the left. Benefitswould outweigh harms for almost everyoneWeakMost people would likely want the interventionto the left. Benefits would outweigh harms forthe majority, but not for everyoneWeakMost people would likely want the interventionto the right. Benefits would outweigh harmsfor the majority, but not for everyoneStrongAll or nearly all informed people would likelywant the intervention to the right. Benefitswould outweigh harms for almost everyone
Recommendation 2Supportive careMonoclonal antibodiesorPatients with severeor critical covid-19We suggest treatment with casirivimab and imdevimab,if the patient has seronegative statusStrongAll or nearly all informed people would likelywant the intervention to the left. Benefitswould outweigh harms for almost everyoneWeakMost people would likely want the interventionto the left. Benefits would outweigh harms forthe majority, but not for everyoneWeakMost people would likely want the interventionto the right. Benefits would outweigh harmsfor the majority, but not for everyoneStrongAll or nearly all informed people would likelywant the intervention to the right. Benefitswould outweigh harms for almost everyone