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Predicting interactions
of drugs in COVID-19
clinical trials

Drugs in COVID‐19 clinical trials: predicting transporter‐mediated drug‐drug interactions using in vitro assays and real‐world data


Numerous drugs are currently under accelerated clinical investigation for the treatment of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID‐19); however, well‐established safety and efficacy data for these drugs are limited. The goal of this study was to predict the potential of 25 small molecule drugs in clinical trials for COVID‐19 to cause clinically relevant drug‐drug interactions (DDIs), which could lead to potential adverse drug reactions (ADRs) with the use of concomitant medications. We focused on 11 transporters, which are targets for DDIs. In vitro potency studies in membrane vesicles or HEK293 cells expressing the transporters coupled with DDI risk assessment methods revealed that 20 of the 25 drugs met the criteria from regulatory authorities to trigger consideration of a DDI clinical trial. Analyses of real‐world data from electronic health records, including a database representing nearly 120,000 patients with COVID‐19, were consistent with several of the drugs causing transporter‐mediated DDIs (e.g., sildenafil, chloroquine, and hydroxychloroquine). This study suggests that patients with COVID‐19, who are often older and on various concomitant medications, should be carefully monitored for ADRs. Future clinical studies are needed to determine whether the drugs that are predicted to inhibit transporters at clinically relevant concentrations, actually result in DDIs.