Although the study is observational rather than a rigorous experiment, it gives valuable information for a decision that hundreds of thousands of COVID-19 patients have already had to make without clear evidence about the drug’s risks and benefits, some journal editors and other doctors wrote in an editorial.
“It is disappointing that several months into the pandemic, we do not yet have results” from any strict tests of the drug, they wrote. Still, the new study “suggests that this treatment is not a panacea.”
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has warned against its use for coronavirus infections except in formal studies.
In all, 180 patients required breathing tubes and 232 died, and the drug did not seem to affect the odds of either.
Its use started within two days of admission for nearly all who received it. Some critics of earlier studies have said treatment may have started too late to do any good.