Publication date: Jun 30, 2023
The efficacy and safety of a strong Janus kinase inhibitor, tofacitinib, in individuals suffering from severe coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pneumonia are not definite well. In this non-randomized and non-blinded trial, a total of 52 Iranian patients with severe COVID-19 associated with decreased oxygen saturation, elevated C-reactive protein, and/or persistent fever were included. A total of 52 patients were included in this study. Tofacitinib was administered to 29 patients (55. 8%) in addition to the standard care treatments, whereas 23 patients (44. 2%) were treated with the standard of care alone (mostly antiviral agents and corticosteroids). Tofacitinib was administered at a dose of 5 mg twice daily for up to 10 days. The primary outcomes were mortality rate, oxygen saturation level, CT findings, rate of breath, heart rate, and level of consciousness. Inflammatory cytokines and blood biomarkers were considered as the secondary outcomes. Death from any cause through day 14 occurred in 51. 7% of the tofacitinib group and 65. 2% of the control group. There was no significant difference in lung radiographic findings between the intervention and control groups at the first day of the study and after the study period. However, a significant decrease was observed in the extent of lung tissue involvement in the intervention group after administration of tofacitinib. Regarding cell and blood biomarkers, a significant decrease in the CPK levels in the intervention group and Hct and ACE levels in the control group was observed after fourteen days of the study. Moreover, a significant increase in SGOT and ferritin values was detected in the control group 14 days after the beginning tofacitinib administration. Comparing control and intervention groups, there was a significant difference in hemoglobin, SGOT, LDH, ferritin, and ACE values between groups before the intervention, while after fourteen days of the study, no significant difference was found. In case of DHEAS and TSH levels, a significant decrease was seen in the intervention group compared to the control after the study period. No other significant improvement was detected in other outcomes of the tofacitinib group compared to the control. The administration of tofacitinib combined with corticosteroids, is not effective enough to treat severe COVID-19 patients and the use of this medication should be considered before the disease deterioration.