Clinical Outcomes Following Tocilizumab Administration in Mechanically Ventilated Coronavirus Disease 2019 Patients

Michael Sirimaturos, Deepa B. Gotur, Samir J. Patel, Diane Dreucean, Nicholas Jakowenko, Megan H. Cooper, Nishal Brahmbhatt, Edward A. Graviss, Duc T. Nguyen, Sai Ravi Pingali, Jiejian Lin, William L. Musick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


UNLABELLED: Effective treatments for the critically ill patient with novel coronavirus disease 2019 are desperately needed. Given the role of cytokine release syndrome in the pathogenesis of coronavirus disease 2019-associated respiratory distress, therapies aimed at mitigating cytokine release, such as the interleukin-6 receptor-inhibiting monoclonal antibody tocilizumab, represent potential treatment strategies. Therefore, we examined the outcomes of critically ill coronavirus disease 2019 patients treated with tocilizumab and factors associated with clinical improvement.

DESIGN: A retrospective cohort analysis of 21-day outcomes for consecutive mechanically ventilated patients treated with tocilizumab from March 24, 2020, to May 4, 2020.

SETTING: Nine ICUs at six hospitals within a hospital system in Houston, Texas, United States.

PATIENTS: The first 62 coronavirus disease 2019 patients on invasive mechanical ventilation who were treated with tocilizumab, which was considered for all patients with severe disease.

INTERVENTIONS: Tocilizumab was administered either at a weight-based dose of 4-8 mg/kg or at a flat dose of 400 mg, with repeat administration in some patients at the physician's discretion.

MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS: The primary outcomes were mortality and clinical improvement, defined as extubation. By day 21 post-tocilizumab, clinical improvement occurred in 36 patients (58%) and 13 patients (21%) died. In both univariable and multivariable analyses, age less than 60 years was associated with clinical improvement. Transient transaminitis was the most common adverse reaction, occurring in 25 patients (40%).

CONCLUSIONS: Based on clinical outcomes and mortality rates seen in previous reports of mechanically ventilated patients, tocilizumab, as part of the management strategy for severe coronavirus disease 2019, represents a promising option. These findings support the need for evaluation of tocilizumab in a randomized controlled trial.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E0232
JournalCritical care explorations
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2020


  • anti-interleukin-6
  • cytokine release syndrome
  • respiratory distress syndrome, adult
  • severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 infection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'Clinical Outcomes Following Tocilizumab Administration in Mechanically Ventilated Coronavirus Disease 2019 Patients'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this