Nirmatrelvir Plus Ritonavir for Early COVID-19 in a Large U.S. Health System
Annals of Internal Medicine, doi:10.7326/m22-2141
Background: In the EPIC-HR (Evaluation of Protease Inhibition for Covid-19 in High-Risk Patients) trial, nirmatrelvir plus ritonavir led to an 89% reduction in hospitalization or death among unvaccinated outpatients with early COVID-19. The clinical impact of nirmatrelvir plus ritonavir among vaccinated populations is uncertain. Objective: To assess whether nirmatrelvir plus ritonavir reduces risk for hospitalization or death among outpatients with early COVID-19 in the setting of prevalent SARS-CoV-2 immunity and immune-evasive SARS-CoV-2 lineages. Design: Population-based cohort study analyzed to emulate a clinical trial using inverse probability-weighted models to account for anticipated bias in treatment. Setting: A large health care system providing care for 1.5 million patients in Massachusetts and New Hampshire during the Omicron wave (1 January to 17 July 2022). Patients: 44 551 nonhospitalized adults (90.3% with ≥3 vaccine doses) aged 50 years or older with COVID-19 and no contraindications for nirmatrelvir plus ritonavir.
Measurements: The primary outcome was a composite of hospitalization within 14 days or death within 28 days of a COVID-19 diagnosis. Results: During the study period, 12 541 (28.1%) patients were prescribed nirmatrelvir plus ritonavir, and 32 010 (71.9%) were not. Patients prescribed nirmatrelvir plus ritonavir were more likely to be older, have more comorbidities, and be vaccinated. The composite outcome of hospitalization or death occurred in 69 (0.55%) patients who were prescribed nirmatrelvir plus ritonavir and 310 (0.97%) who were not (adjusted risk ratio, 0.56 [95% CI, 0.42 to 0.75]). Recipients of nirmatrelvir plus ritonavir had lower risk for hospitalization (adjusted risk ratio, 0.60 [CI, 0.44 to 0.81]) and death (adjusted risk ratio, 0.29 [CI, 0.12 to 0.71]). Limitation: Potential residual confounding due to differential access to COVID-19 vaccines, diagnostic tests, and treatment.
Conclusion: The overall risk for hospitalization or death was already low (1%) after an outpatient diagnosis of COVID-19, but nirmatrelvir plus ritonavir reduced this risk further.
Author contributions are available at Annals.org. Previous Posting: This manuscript was posted as a preprint on medRxiv on 17 June 2022. doi:10.1101/2022.06. 14.22276393
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