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Challenges in evaluating treatments for COVID-19: The case of in-hospital anticoagulant use and the risk of adverse outcomes

Affiliation
Department of Epidemiology ,Biostatistics and Occupational Health ,McGill University ,Montreal ,QC ,Canada
Yu, Ya-Hui;
Affiliation
Department of Epidemiology ,Biostatistics and Occupational Health ,McGill University ,Montreal ,QC ,Canada
Oh, In-Sun;
Affiliation
School of Pharmacy Science ,Sungkyunkwan University ,Suwon ,Gyeonggi-do ,South Korea
Jeong, Han Eol;
Affiliation
Department of Epidemiology ,Biostatistics and Occupational Health ,McGill University ,Montreal ,QC ,Canada
Platt, Robert W.;
Affiliation
Department of Epidemiology ,Biostatistics and Occupational Health ,McGill University ,Montreal ,QC ,Canada
Douros, Antonios;
Affiliation
School of Pharmacy Science ,Sungkyunkwan University ,Suwon ,Gyeonggi-do ,South Korea
Shin, Ju-Young;
Affiliation
Department of Epidemiology ,Biostatistics and Occupational Health ,McGill University ,Montreal ,QC ,Canada
Filion, Kristian B.

Anticoagulants are a potential treatment for the thrombotic complications resulting from COVID-19. We aimed to determine the association between anticoagulant use and adverse outcomes among hospitalized patients with COVID-19. We used data from the COVID-19 International Collaborative Research Project in South Korea from January to June 2020. We defined exposure using an intention-to-treat approach, with person-time classified as use or non-use of anticoagulants at cohort entry, and a time-varying approach. The primary outcome was all-cause, in-hospital mortality; the secondary outcome was a composite including respiratory outcomes, cardiovascular outcomes, venous thromboembolism, major bleeding, and intensive care unit admission. Cox proportional hazards models estimated adjusted hazard ratios (HRs) of the outcomes comparing use versus non-use of anticoagulants. Our cohort included 2,677 hospitalized COVID-19 patients, of whom 24 received anticoagulants at cohort entry. Users were older and had more comorbidities. The crude incidence rate (per 1,000 person-days) of mortality was 5.83 (95% CI: 2.80, 10.72) among anticoagulant users and 1.36 (95% CI: 1.14, 1.59) for non-users. Crude rates of the composite outcome were 3.20 (95% CI: 1.04, 7.47) and 1.80 (95% CI: 1.54, 2.08), respectively. Adjusted HRs for mortality (HR: 1.12, 95% CI: 0.48, 2.64) and the composite outcome (HR: 0.79, 95% CI: 0.28, 2.18) were inconclusive. Although our study was not able to draw conclusions on anticoagulant effectiveness for COVID-19 outcomes, these results can contribute to future knowledge syntheses of this important question. Our study demonstrated that the dynamic pandemic environment may have important implications for observational studies of COVID-19 treatment effectiveness.

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License Holder: Copyright © 2022 Yu, Oh, Jeong, Platt, Douros, Shin and Filion.

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