|Title:||Potential for Increased Risk of Infection Following Tocilizumab Treatment in COVID-19|
|Author(s):||N Smyth, E Smyth|
|Institution:||Altnagelvin Hospital / University of Glasgow|
|Poster:||Click to view poster|
|Abstract:||Tocilizumab, an interleukin-6 inhibitor, is proven to improve survival and other clinical outcomes in COVID-19. However, increased risk of infection is a known and common side effect.|
This study investigated the occurrence of post-treatment complications (i.e. infection) in patients treated with tocilizumab. We reviewed the electronic care records of all patients (n=37) who were given tocilizumab in a five month period (January-March 2021), screening for documented infections, positive microbiology results and antibiotic prescriptions in the three months after treatment.
Results showed that 59.45% (n=22) of patients given tocilizumab had evidence of infection in this period, with 40.90% of these patients having evidence of multiple infections. The most commonly identified source of infection was the respiratory tract (63.63% of patients with infection). An array of organisms were identified, the most common being coliforms (45.45% of infections).
These results appear to show that tocilizumab does carry an increased risk of bacterial and fungal infection after treatment. Some patients went on to develop multiple and/or severe superimposed infections which may have contributed to higher morbidity and mortality. While further investigation is required, clinicians should consider these risks when prescribing tocilizumab.