Introduction The pandemic of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS)-coronavirus-2 (CoV-2) disease 2019 (COVID-19) was declared in march 2020. Knowledge of COVID-19 pathophysiology soon provided a strong rationale for the early use of anti-inflammatory, antiplatelet and anticoagulant drugs, however the evidence was only slowly and partially incorporated into institutional guidelines. Unmet needs of COVID-19 outpatients were soon taken care of by networks of physicians and researchers, using pharmacotherapeutic approaches based on the best available experiences.
Methods Observational retrospective study investigating characteristics, management and outcomes in COVID-19 patients taken care of in Italy by physicians volunteering within the IppocrateOrg Association, one of the main international assistance networks, between 1st november 2020 and 31st march 2021.
Results Ten doctors took part in the study and provided data about 392 consecutive COVID-19 patients. Patients’ mean age was 48,5 years (range: 0,5-97). They were 51,3% females and were taken care of when in COVID-19 stage 0 (15,6%), 1 (50,0%), 2a (28,8%), 2b (5,6%). Many patients were overweight (26%) or obese (11,5%), with chronic comorbidities (34,9%), mainly cardiovascular (23%) and metabolic (13,3%). Drugs most frequently prescribed included: vitamins and supplements (98,7%), aspirin (66,1%), antibiotics (62%), glucocorticoids (41,8%), hydroxychloroquine (29,6%), enoxaparin (28,6%), colchicine (8,9%), oxygen therapy (6,9%), ivermectin (2,8%). Hospitalization occurred in 5,8% of total cases, mainly in patients taken care of when in stage 2b (27,3%). Altogether, 390 patients (99,6%) recovered, one patient (0,2%) was lost at follow up, and one patient (0,2%) died after hospitalization. One doctor reported one grade 1 adverse drug reaction (ADR) (transient or mild discomfort), and 3 doctors reported in total 8 grade 2 ADR (mild to moderate limitation in activity).
Conclusions This is the first study describing attitudes and behaviors of physicians caring for COVID-19 outpatients, and the effectiveness and safety of COVID-19 early treatment in the real world. COVID-19 lethality in our cohort was 0,2%, while the overall COVID-19 lethality in Italy in the same period was between 3% and 3,8%. The use of individual drugs and drug combinations described in this study appears therefore effective and safe, as indicated by the few and mild ADR reported. Present evidence should be carefully considered by physicians caring
for COVID-19 patients as well as by political decision makers managing the current global crisis.
Competing Interest Statement
The authors have declared no competing interest.
This study did not receive any funding.