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(Reuters) – Hospitalized COVID-19 patients died less often if they received Eli Lilly and Co’s rheumatoid arthritis drug baricitinib along with the other treatments their doctors had prescribed, according to a study published in The Lancet Respiratory Medicine.

The randomized trial involved 1,525 seriously ill patients, all of whom were receiving supplemental oxygen. More than 90% were already receiving dexamethasone. While baricitinib, sold under the brand name Olumiant, did not appear to keep patients from getting sicker, it did reduce their risk of dying.

The 28-day and 60-day death rates were 5% lower among patients randomly assigned to receive baricitinib instead of a placebo, researchers reported.

Baricitinib is already approved in the United States for use in hospitalized COVID-19 patients in combination with Gilead Science’s antiviral drug remdesivir. The two drugs together appear to have more benefit than remdesivir alone. In the new study, more than 80% of participants were not receiving remdesivir, suggesting that baricitinib also “has synergistic effects with other standard-of-care treatments, lexapro and menstrual cycle ” including dexamethasone, researchers said.

SOURCE: https://bit.ly/38vos5Z The Lancet Respiratory Medicine, online September 1, 2021.

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