Early Outpatient Treatment of COVID-19: A Retrospective Analysis of 392 Cases in Italy

COVID-19 was declared a pandemic in March 2020. The knowledge of COVID-19 pathophysiology soon provided a strong rationale for the early use of both anti-inflammatory and antithrombotic drugs; however, its evidence was slowly and partially incorporated into institutional guidelines. The unmet needs of COVID-19 outpatients were taken care of by networks of physicians and researchers. We analyse the characteristics, management and outcomes in COVID-19 outpatients who were taken care of by physicians within the IppocrateOrg Association. In this observational retrospective study, volunteering doctors provided data on 392 COVID-19 patients. The mean age of patients was 48.5 years (range: 0.5–97), and patients were taken care of in COVID-19 stage 0 (15.6%), stage 1 (50.0%), stage 2a (28.8%) and stage 2b (5.6%). Many patients were overweight (26%) or obese (11.5%), with chronic comorbidities (34.9%), mainly cardiovascular (23%) and metabolic (13.3%). The most frequently prescribed drugs 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%), and ivermectin (2.8%). Hospitalization occurred in 5.8% of cases, mainly in stage 2b (27.3%).

A total of 390 patients (99.6%) recovered; one patient was lost at follow up, and one patient died after hospitalization. This is the first real-world study describing the behaviours of physicians caring for COVID-19 outpatients, and the outcomes of COVID-19 early treatment. The lethality in this cohort was 0.2%, while overall, and over the same period, the COVID-19 lethality in Italy was over 3%. The drug use described in this study appears effective and safe. The present evidence should be carefully considered by physicians and political decision makers