NIH guidelines emphasise lack of evidence for COVID-19 treatments

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has released a set of guidelines explaining the optimal management of coronavirus patients.

The guidelines, prepared by experts from across relevant health and scientific bodies, make recommendations on how to use each of the treatment options currently considered for COVID-19. Crucially, the guidelines also critique the quality of the evidence underpinning the use of each treatment, showing the significant lack of evidence in several cases.

“These Treatment Guidelines have been developed to inform clinicians how to care for patients with COVID-19. Because clinical information about the optimal management of COVID-19 is evolving quickly, these Guidelines will be updated frequently as published data and other authoritative information becomes available…

“Currently there are no Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved drugs for COVID-19…

“…it is important to stress that the rated treatment recommendations in these Guidelines should not be considered mandates. The choice of what to do or not to do for an individual patient is ultimately decided by the patient together with their provider.”

Among the treatments considered is chloroquine, which received a score of AIII (meaning a strong recommendation with very little clinical data):

  • “There are insufficient clinical data to recommend either for or against using chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine for the treatment of COVID-19 (AIII)
    • If chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine is used, clinicians should monitor the patient for adverse effects, especially prolonged QTc interval (AIII)”

The guidelines are expected to change regularly as studies are completed around the world. Readers are therefore advised to review it often. Find the guidelines here.

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Published on 22. April 2020 in News, News International, Press Release