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An Updated Systematic Review of the Therapeutic Role of Hydroxychloroquine in Coronavirus Disease-19 (COVID-19).

ABSTRACT

The world is currently experiencing the Coronavirus Disease-19 (COVID-19) pandemic. There is no approved drug for the definitive treatment of the disease. Various drugs are being tried for the treatment of COVID-19, including hydroxychloroquine (HCQ). This study was performed to systematically review the therapeutic role of HCQ in COVID-19 from the available literature. PubMed, Embase, ClinicalTrials.gov, ICTRP (WHO), Cochrane Library databases, and two pre-print servers (medRxiv.org and Research Square) were searched for clinical studies that evaluated the therapeutic role of HCQ on COVID-19 until 10 May 2020. The available studies were critically analyzed and the data were extracted. A total of 663 articles were screened and 12 clinical studies (seven peer-reviewed and published studies and five non-peer-reviewed studies from pre-print servers) with a total sample size of 3543 patients were included. Some of the clinical studies demonstrated good virological and clinical outcomes with HCQ alone or in combination with azithromycin in COVID-19 patients, although the studies had major methodological limitations. Some of the other studies showed negative results with HCQ therapy along with the risk of adverse reactions. The results of efficacy and safety of HCQ in COVID-19, as obtained from the clinical studies, are not satisfactory, although many of these studies had major methodological limitations. Stronger evidence from well-designed robust randomized clinical trials is required before conclusively determining the role of HCQ in the treatment of COVID-19. Clinical prudence is required in advocating HCQ as a therapeutic armamentarium in COVID-19.