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JMIR Res Protoc ; 11(5): e36261, 2022 05 20.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1862513


BACKGROUND: The LOVIT (Lessening Organ Dysfunction with Vitamin C) trial is a blinded multicenter randomized clinical trial comparing high-dose intravenous vitamin C to placebo in patients admitted to the intensive care unit with proven or suspected infection as the main diagnosis and receiving a vasopressor. OBJECTIVE: We aim to describe a prespecified statistical analysis plan (SAP) for the LOVIT trial prior to unblinding and locking of the trial database. METHODS: The SAP was designed by the LOVIT principal investigators and statisticians, and approved by the steering committee and coinvestigators. The SAP defines the primary and secondary outcomes, and describes the planned primary, secondary, and subgroup analyses. RESULTS: The SAP includes a draft participant flow diagram, tables, and planned figures. The primary outcome is a composite of mortality and persistent organ dysfunction (receipt of mechanical ventilation, vasopressors, or new renal replacement therapy) at 28 days, where day 1 is the day of randomization. All analyses will use a frequentist statistical framework. The analysis of the primary outcome will estimate the risk ratio and 95% CI in a generalized linear mixed model with binomial distribution and log link, with site as a random effect. We will perform a secondary analysis adjusting for prespecified baseline clinical variables. Subgroup analyses will include age, sex, frailty, severity of illness, Sepsis-3 definition of septic shock, baseline ascorbic acid level, and COVID-19 status. CONCLUSIONS: We have developed an SAP for the LOVIT trial and will adhere to it in the analysis phase. INTERNATIONAL REGISTERED REPORT IDENTIFIER (IRRID): DERR1-10.2196/36261.

Can J Anaesth ; 67(10): 1405-1416, 2020 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1777848


During the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) global pandemic, urgent strategies to alleviate shortages are required. Evaluation of the feasibility, practicality, and value of drug conservation strategies and therapeutic alternatives requires a collaborative approach at the provincial level. The Ontario COVID-19 ICU Drug Task Force was directed to create recommendations suggesting drug conservation strategies and therapeutic alternatives for essential drugs at risk of shortage in the intensive care unit during the COVID-19 pandemic. Recommendations were rapidly developed using a modified Delphi method and evaluated on their ease of implementation, feasibility, and supportive evidence. This article describes the recommendations for drug conservation strategies and therapeutic alternatives for drugs at risk of shortage that are commonly used in the care of critically ill patients. Recommendations are identified as preferred and secondary ones that might be less desirable. Although the impetus for generating this document was the COVID-19 pandemic, recommendations should also be applicable for mitigating drug shortages outside of a pandemic. Proposed provincial strategies for drug conservation and therapeutic alternatives may not all be appropriate for every institution. Local implementation will require consultation from end-users and hospital administrators. Competing equipment shortages and available resources should be considered when evaluating the appropriateness of each strategy.

RéSUMé: Pendant la pandémie mondiale du coronavirus (COVID-19), des stratégies urgentes pour réduire les pénuries sont nécessaires. L'évaluation de la faisabilité, de l'aspect pratique et du mérite des stratégies de préservation des médicaments et des alternatives thérapeutiques nécessite une approche collaborative au niveau provincial. Le Groupe de travail ontarien sur les médicaments à l'USI pendant la COVID-19 a reçu comme mandat d'élaborer des recommandations proposant des stratégies de préservation des médicaments et des alternatives thérapeutiques pour les médicaments essentiels utilisés dans les unités de soins intensifs courant un risque de pénurie pendant la pandémie de COVID-19. Des recommandations ont été rapidement élaborées en utilisant une méthode Delphi modifiée, puis évaluées selon leur facilité de mise en œuvre, leur faisabilité et les données probantes les préconisant. Cet article décrit les recommandations quant aux stratégies de préservation des médicaments et aux alternatives thérapeutiques aux médicaments possiblement à risque de pénurie fréquemment utilisés pour les soins des patients en état critique. Les recommandations sont identifiées comme 'à privilégier' ou 'secondaires' si moins souhaitables. Bien que la pandémie de la COVID-19 ait été l'impulsion incitant la création de ce document, ces recommandations devraient également être applicables pour réduire les pénuries de médicaments en contexte normal. Les stratégies provinciales proposées pour la préservation des médicaments et les alternatives thérapeutiques pourraient ne pas être adaptées pour toutes les institutions. La mise en œuvre locale nécessitera la consultation des utilisateurs et des administrateurs hospitaliers. Il faudrait tenir compte des pénuries de matériel concurrentes et des ressources disponibles lors de l'évaluation de la faisabilité de chaque stratégie.

Coronavirus Infections/drug therapy , Intensive Care Units , Pharmaceutical Preparations/supply & distribution , Pneumonia, Viral/drug therapy , Advisory Committees , COVID-19 , Critical Illness , Humans , Ontario , Pandemics
BMJ Open ; 12(3): e057024, 2022 03 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1723817


INTRODUCTION: COVID-19 has caused morbidity, hospitalisations and deaths worldwide. Despite four approved vaccines for COVID-19 in Canada, there is still a need for effective treatments, especially for people in the community. Vaccine efficacy is not 100% and long-term efficacy is still unknown. Furthermore, there are challenges to herd immunity including vaccine hesitancy and underlying conditions preventing vaccination. We aim to explore if the nutrients vitamin C, vitamin D, vitamin K2 and zinc are an effective treatment option for outpatients diagnosed with COVID-19. The primary outcome is the difference in participant-reported overall health; secondary outcomes include the effect on health status, symptom severity and duration, frequency and length of hospitalisations and mortality. METHODS AND ANALYSIS: This study is a two-arm, parallel-group, double-blind, placebo-controlled, phase III randomised controlled trial. 200 patients will be recruited remotely from COVID-19 test centres in Ottawa, Canada associated with The Ottawa Hospital. Overall health will be measured using the EuroQol Visual Assessment Scale; health status will be measured using the EuroQol 5-dimension 5-level questionnaire; symptom severity and duration will be measured using an independently developed questionnaire; analyses will use an area under the curve approach and compare mean scores using unadjusted t tests. Study data will be recorded on electronic case report forms using the Research Electronic Data Capture platform. An independent data safety and monitoring board will perform ongoing review of the study for feasibility and safety. ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION: This study has received ethical approval from the research ethics boards of the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine and the Ottawa Health Sciences Network, as well as regulatory approval from the Therapeutic Products Directorate and Natural and Non-Prescription Health Products Directorate of Health Canada. Results will be published in a peer-reviewed scientific journal with open access. TRIAL REGISTRATION NUMBER: NCT04780061.

COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19 Vaccines , Canada , Dietary Supplements , Humans , Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic , Treatment Outcome
Chest ; 161(2): 418-428, 2022 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1363121


BACKGROUND: Critically ill adults are at increased risk of VTE, including DVT, and pulmonary embolism. Various agents exist for venous thromboprophylaxis in this population. RESEARCH QUESTION: What is the comparative efficacy and safety of prophylaxis agents for prevention of VTE in critically ill adults? STUDY DESIGN AND METHODS: Systematic review and network meta-analysis of randomized clinical trials (RCTs) evaluating efficacy of thromboprophylaxis agents among critically ill patients. We searched six databases (including PubMed, EMBASE, and Medline) from inception through January 2021 for RCTs of patients in the ICU receiving pharmacologic, mechanical, or combination therapy (pharmacologic agents and mechanical devices) for thromboprophylaxis. Two reviewers performed screening, full-text review, and extraction. We used the Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development, and Evaluation to rate certainty of effect estimates. RESULTS: We included 13 RCTs (9,619 patients). Compared with control treatment (a composite of no prophylaxis, placebo, or compression stockings only), low-molecular-weight heparin (LMWH) reduced the incidence of DVT (OR, 0.59 [95% credible interval [CrI], 0.33-0.90]; high certainty) and unfractionated heparin (UFH) may reduce the incidence of DVT (OR, 0.82 [95% CrI, 0.47-1.37]; low certainty). LMWH probably reduces DVT compared with UFH (OR, 0.72 [95% CrI, 0.46-0.98]; moderate certainty). Compressive devices may reduce risk of DVT compared with control treatments; however, this is based on low-certainty evidence (OR, 0.85 [95% CrI, 0.50-1.50]). Combination therapy showed unclear effect on DVT compared with either therapy alone (very low certainty). INTERPRETATION: Among critically ill adults, compared with control treatment, LMWH reduces incidence of DVT, whereas UFH and mechanical compressive devices may reduce the risk of DVT. LMWH is probably more effective than UFH in reducing incidence of DVT and should be considered the primary pharmacologic agent for thromboprophylaxis. The efficacy and safety of combination pharmacologic therapy and mechanical compressive devices were unclear. TRIAL REGISTRY: Open Science Framework; URL:

Anticoagulants/therapeutic use , Critical Illness , Intermittent Pneumatic Compression Devices , Venous Thromboembolism/prevention & control , Adult , Heparin/therapeutic use , Heparin, Low-Molecular-Weight/therapeutic use , Humans , Pulmonary Embolism/prevention & control , Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
BMC Complement Med Ther ; 21(1): 112, 2021 Apr 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1172831


BACKGROUND: Elderberry has traditionally been used to prevent and treat respiratory problems. During the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been interest in elderberry supplements to treat or prevent illness, but also concern that elderberry might overstimulate the immune system and increase the risk of 'cytokine storm'. We aimed to determine benefits and harms of elderberry for the prevention and treatment of viral respiratory infections, and to assess the relationship between elderberry supplements and negative health impacts associated with overproduction of pro-inflammatory cytokines. METHODS: We conducted a systematic review and searched six databases, four research registers, and two preprint sites for studies. Two reviewers independently assessed studies for inclusion, extracted data from studies, assessed risk of bias using Cochrane tools, and evaluated certainty of estimates using GRADE. Outcomes included new illnesses and the severity and duration of illness. RESULTS: We screened 1187 records and included five randomized trials on elderberry for the treatment or prevention of viral respiratory illness. We did not find any studies linking elderberry to clinical inflammatory outcomes. However, we found three studies measuring production of cytokines ex vivo after ingestion of elderberry. Elderberry may not reduce the risk of developing the common cold; it may reduce the duration and severity of colds, but the evidence is uncertain. Elderberry may reduce the duration of influenza but the evidence is uncertain. Compared to oseltamivir, an elderberry-containing product may be associated with a lower risk of influenza complications and adverse events. We did not find evidence on elderberry and clinical outcomes related to inflammation. However, we found evidence that elderberry has some effect on inflammatory markers, although this effect may decline with ongoing supplementation. One small study compared elderberry to diclofenac (a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug) and provided some evidence that elderberry is as effective or less effective than diclofenac in cytokine reduction over time. CONCLUSIONS: Elderberry may be a safe option for treating viral respiratory illness, and there is no evidence that it overstimulates the immune system. However, the evidence on both benefits and harms is uncertain and information from recent and ongoing studies is necessary to make firm conclusions.

COVID-19/drug therapy , Common Cold/drug therapy , Cytokines/metabolism , Influenza, Human/drug therapy , Phytotherapy , Plant Extracts/therapeutic use , Sambucus , COVID-19/metabolism , Common Cold/metabolism , Humans , Inflammation/metabolism , Inflammation/prevention & control , Influenza, Human/metabolism , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2
Healthc Q ; 23(4): 17-22, 2021 Jan.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1040177


Patients with serious illnesses such as cancer, advanced organ failure, dementia and COVID-19 rely on medications to alleviate suffering from uncontrolled symptoms. Numerous actual or threatened shortages of key medications used to provide palliation have been reported during the COVID-19 pandemic. This article explores the nature of these shortages, factors that have contributed to them and strategies to mitigate them. It calls on all levels of the healthcare system and the government to address this problem. Shortages in these medications are as serious as shortages in medications used to cure or control diseases.

COVID-19/drug therapy , Palliative Care , Pharmaceutical Preparations/supply & distribution , Canada , Humans