Tocilizumab for coronavirus disease 2019 in pregnancy and lactation: a narrative review.
Clinical microbiology and infection : the official publication of the European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases. 2022;(1):51-57
BACKGROUND Tocilizumab is a monoclonal antibody that interrupts interleukin-6 signalling, reducing downstream effects on inflammation and the innate immune response. It was shown to reduce mortality in patients with severe or critical coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Pregnant and breastfeeding people were largely excluded from clinical trials and hence, the extent to which results can be applied to these populations is not clear. OBJECTIVES To synthesize published data on tocilizumab in pregnancy and lactation, highlight important knowledge gaps, and help inform clinical decision-making about tocilizumab's use in these populations with COVID-19. SOURCES PubMed was searched for studies evaluating tocilizumab in pregnancy and lactation for COVID-19 and other indications. Literature on pharmacokinetics and reproductive/fetal safety of monoclonal antibodies in general was also sought. The US Food and Drug Administration and the European Medicines Agency guidance for the industry and regulatory approval documents were reviewed. CONTENT Published data on tocilizumab in pregnancy include 610 cases (n = 20 with COVID-19) together with seven mother-infant breastfeeding pairs. Higher rates of spontaneous abortion and premature birth have been reported compared with the general population, but multiple confounding variables limit interpretation. There is little data on tocilizumab exposure in the second and third trimesters when transplacental transport is highest. The effects of tocilizumab on the developing immune system are unclear. Pregnant patients with COVID-19 who received tocilizumab were often critically ill and corticosteroid use was uncommon. Neonatal follow up was limited. Tocilizumab appears to be compatible with breastfeeding. IMPLICATIONS Although the available data do not raise serious safety signals, they have significant limitations and are not sufficient to delineate the complete spectrum of potential adverse outcomes that may be associated with tocilizumab exposure during pregnancy and lactation. Diligent follow up and documentation of pregnancy outcomes will be important moving forward. A more effective regulatory framework to ensure equitable inclusion of pregnant people in research is clearly needed.
COVID-19 and IL-6: Why vitamin D (probably) helps but tocilizumab might not.
European journal of pharmacology. 2021;:174031
Interleukin 6 (IL-6), which is involved in the cytokine storm phenomenon, is a therapeutic target in COVID-19, but monoclonal receptor antibody therapeutic agents such as tocilizumab have demonstrated mixed results. Could Vitamin D, which modulates IL-6, be more effective than currently deployed IL-6 antagonists, including tocilizumab, thereby presenting a useful therapeutic option in COVID-19? A narrative review of published trials examining the effect of Vitamin D administration in COVID-19 patients was conducted, and the theoretical basis for the use of tocilizumab as an IL-6 antagonist was compared with the immunomodulatory effect of Vitamin D on IL-6 production. Four of the six included studies reported a positive effect of Vitamin D on outcomes. While tocilizumab non-selectively blocks both anti-inflammatory and pro-inflammatory actions of IL-6, Vitamin D lowers immune cell IL-6 production, potentially reducing pro-inflammatory effects, but does not specifically target IL-6 receptors, avoiding any deleterious effect on the anti-inflammatory actions of IL-6. Vitamin D may have advantages over tocilizumab as an IL-6 immunomodulator, and, given that it is safe if administered under clinical supervision, there is a strong rationale for its use.
Tocilizumab in Patients Hospitalized with Covid-19 Pneumonia.
The New England journal of medicine. 2021;(1):20-30
BACKGROUND Coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pneumonia is often associated with hyperinflammation. Despite the disproportionate incidence of Covid-19 among underserved and racial and ethnic minority populations, the safety and efficacy of the anti-interleukin-6 receptor antibody tocilizumab in patients from these populations who are hospitalized with Covid-19 pneumonia are unclear. METHODS We randomly assigned (in a 2:1 ratio) patients hospitalized with Covid-19 pneumonia who were not receiving mechanical ventilation to receive standard care plus one or two doses of either tocilizumab (8 mg per kilogram of body weight intravenously) or placebo. Site selection was focused on the inclusion of sites enrolling high-risk and minority populations. The primary outcome was mechanical ventilation or death by day 28. RESULTS A total of 389 patients underwent randomization, and the modified intention-to-treat population included 249 patients in the tocilizumab group and 128 patients in the placebo group; 56.0% were Hispanic or Latino, 14.9% were Black, 12.7% were American Indian or Alaska Native, 12.7% were non-Hispanic White, and 3.7% were of other or unknown race or ethnic group. The cumulative percentage of patients who had received mechanical ventilation or who had died by day 28 was 12.0% (95% confidence interval [CI], 8.5 to 16.9) in the tocilizumab group and 19.3% (95% CI, 13.3 to 27.4) in the placebo group (hazard ratio for mechanical ventilation or death, 0.56; 95% CI, 0.33 to 0.97; P = 0.04 by the log-rank test). Clinical failure as assessed in a time-to-event analysis favored tocilizumab over placebo (hazard ratio, 0.55; 95% CI, 0.33 to 0.93). Death from any cause by day 28 occurred in 10.4% of the patients in the tocilizumab group and 8.6% of those in the placebo group (weighted difference, 2.0 percentage points; 95% CI, -5.2 to 7.8). In the safety population, serious adverse events occurred in 38 of 250 patients (15.2%) in the tocilizumab group and 25 of 127 patients (19.7%) in the placebo group. CONCLUSIONS In hospitalized patients with Covid-19 pneumonia who were not receiving mechanical ventilation, tocilizumab reduced the likelihood of progression to the composite outcome of mechanical ventilation or death, but it did not improve survival. No new safety signals were identified. (Funded by Genentech; EMPACTA ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT04372186.).
Tocilizumab for treating COVID-19: a systemic review and meta-analysis of retrospective studies.
European journal of clinical pharmacology. 2021;(3):311-319
OBJECTIVES COVID-19 has become a global epidemic, and effective therapies have not been discovered up to now. We conducted this study to explore the effectiveness and safety of tocilizumab recently used for treating COVID-19. METHOD A comprehensive search was conducted (up to September 27, 2020), and 19 eligible records were identified according to the inclusion and exclusion criteria. The data of the studies were extracted by 2 independent reviewers and were analyzed to evaluate the safety and availability of tocilizumab for treating COVID-19. RESULTS Thirteen retrospective case-control studies (n = 2285 patients) and 6 retrospective single-armed studies (n = 208) were retrieved in this study. In the comparison of tocilizumab treatment group (TCZ) and standard treatment group (ST), significant associations with a lower risk of admission to ICU, use of ventilation, and mortality (OR, 95% CI: 0.53, 0.26~1.09; 0.66, 0.46~0.94; 0.44, 0.36~0.55) were found in the tocilizumab treatment group. What is more, patients treated with tocilizumab had better clinical improvement compared with the patients treated with ST (OR, 1.24; 95% CI, 0.96~1.62). After taking tocilizumab, the patients had lower C-reactive protein (CRP), white blood cell count (WBC), aspartate aminotransferase (AST) (WMD, 95% CI: - 99.66, - 156.24~- 43.09; - 0.95, - 1.8~- 0.11; - 12.58, - 18.88~-6.29) but higher troponin (WMD, 7.61; 95% CI, 3.06~12.15) than before. In addition, tocilizumab did not have significant influence on patients' neutrophil count (Neut), lymphocyte count (Lymp), platelet count (Plt), alanine aminotransferase (ALT), and creatine (WMD, 95% CI: - 0.29, - 2.91~2.33; 0.42, - 0.23~1.07; 5.2, - 2.85~13.25; 22.49, - 2.73~47.7; - 44.78, - 93.37~3.81). CONCLUSION Tocilizumab may have potential effectiveness to treat COVID-19 according to the results of this study. However, more large-scale studies are needed for more accurate conclusions.
Off-label tocilizumab and adjuvant iron chelator effectiveness in a group of severe COVID-19 pneumonia patients: A single center experience.
Tocilizumab (TCZ), a monoclonal recombinant antibody against IL-6 receptor, is currently used in managing the cytokine release syndrome (CRS) that occurred in coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) selected cases. The primary objective of our study was to establish the effectiveness of TCZ in patients with severe or critical severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) pneumonia.We retrospectively analyzed 25 consecutive patients, admitted in the Academic Emergency Hospital Sibiu, Romania from April 1, 2020 until May 25, 2020, all with confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection and severe pneumonia. All patients were treated off-label with TCZ, beside their standard care. Adjuvant iron chelator was associated in 11 patients.Six female and 19 male patients admitted in our hospital all with confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection and severe pneumonia as defined by Chinese Centers for Disease Control and Prevention were enrolled in this study. Seventeen of the 25 enrolled patients (68%) were seriously ill requiring noninvasive ventilation or oxygen mask, and 8 cases (32%) were critically ill requiring invasive mechanical ventilation. All patients received TCZ, and also received hydroxychloroquine, and lopinavir/ritonavir 200/50 mg for 10 days. Adjuvant iron chelator (deferasirox - marketed as Exjade) was associated in 11 patients who had ferritin serum levels above 1000 ng/mL. No side effects were encountered during infusions or after TCZ. We observed a rapid increase in arterial oxygen saturation for 20 of the 25 cases (80%) with a favorable evolution toward healing. Survivors were younger than 60 years old (80%), had less comorbidities (10% no comorbidities, 70% with 1 or 2 comorbidities), lower serum ferritin levels (30% under 1000 ng/mL), and 50% had no serum glucose elevation. Our patients with CRS had no response to corticosteroid therapy. Five out of the 25 patients had an unfavorable evolution to death. The off-label use of TCZ in patients with severe or critically ill form of SARS-CoV-2 infection had good results in our study.Off-label use of TCZ in severe and critical cases of COVID-19 pneumonia is effective in managing the "cytokine storm." Better outcomes were noted in younger patients. Associated adjuvant iron chelators may contribute to a good outcome and needs to be confirmed in larger studies.
Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in a patient with ankylosing spondylitis treated with secukinumab: a case-based review.
Rheumatology international. 2020;(10):1707-1716
Severe acute respiratory syndrome coranovirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection has become an important health-care issue worldwide. The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has also raised concerns among patients with inflammatory rheumatic conditions and their treating physicians. There are emerging data regarding the potential risks of SARS-CoV-2 for this particular patient group. However, less is known with regard to the course of COVID-19 among patients receiving IL-17 inhibitors. The aim of the current article is to review the growing body of knowledge on the course/management of COVID-19 in patients with inflammatory rheumatic diseases by presenting a SARS-CoV-2 infected case with ankylosing spondylitis under secukinumab therapy. A 61-year old patient with ankylosing spondylitis who was on secukinumab therapy for 5 months admitted with newly onset fever and gastrointestinal complaints. After being hospitalized, she developed respiratory manifestations with focal pulmonary ground-glass opacities and multiple nodular densities in both lungs. The patient was tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 infection. Substantial clinical improvement was obtained following a management plan, which included tocilizumab, hydroxychloroquine, prednisolone and enoxaparin sodium. PubMed/MEDLINE and Scopus databases were searched by using relevant keywords and their combinations. The literature search revealed four articles reporting the clinical course of COVID-19 in seven rheumatic patients on secukinumab. The clinical course of SARS-CoV-2 infection was mild in most of these patients, while one of them experienced severe COVID-19. Interleukin-17 has been related to the hyperinflammatory state in COVID-19 and IL-17 inhibitors were presented as promising targets for the prevention of aberrant inflammation and acute respiratory distress in COVID-19. However, this hypothesis still remains to be proved. Further studies are warranted in order to test the benefits and risks of IL-inhibitors in SARS-CoV-2 infected individuals.