Retrospective cohort study to evaluate medication use in patients hospitalised with COVID-19 in Scotland: protocol for a national observational study

Tanja Mueller, Steven Kerr, Stuart McTaggart, Amanj Kurdi, Eleftheria Vasileiou, Annemarie Docherty, Kenny Fraser, Ting Shi, Colin R Simpson, Marion Bennie, Aziz Sheikh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction COVID-19 has caused millions of hospitalisations and deaths globally. A range of vaccines have been developed and are being deployed at scale in the UK to prevent SARS-CoV-2 infection, which have reduced risk of infection and severe COVID-19 outcomes. Those with COVID-19 are now being treated with several repurposed drugs based on evidence emerging from recent clinical trials. However, there is currently limited real-world data available related to the use of these drugs in routine clinical practice. The purpose of this study is to address the prevailing knowledge gaps regarding the use of dexamethasone, remdesivir and tocilizumab by conducting an exploratory drug utilisation study, aimed at providing in-depth descriptions of patients receiving these drugs as well as the treatment patterns observed in Scotland. Methods and analysis Retrospective cohort study, comprising adult patients admitted to hospital with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 across five Scottish Health Boards using data from in-hospital ePrescribing linked to the Early Estimation of Vaccine and Anti-Viral Effectiveness (EAVE II) COVID-19 surveillance platform. The primary outcome will be exposure to the medicines of interest (dexamethasone, remdesivir, tocilizumab), either alone or in combination; exposure will be described in terms of drug(s) of choice; prescribed and administered dose; treatment duration; and any changes in treatment, for example, dose escalation and/or switching to an alternative drug. Analyses will primarily be descriptive in nature. Ethics and dissemination Ethical and information governance approvals have been obtained by the National Research Ethics Service Committee, South East Scotland 02 and the Public Benefit and Privacy Panel for Health and Social Care, respectively. Findings from this study will be presented at academic and clinical conferences, and to the funders and other interested parties as appropriate; study findings will also be published in peer-reviewed journals. Publications will be available on the EAVE II website (, alongside lay summaries and infographics aimed at the general public. Press releases will also be considered, if appropriate.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere054861
Number of pages7
JournalBMJ Open
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 19 Nov 2021


  • Covid-19
  • hospital treatment
  • drug utilisation
  • dexamethasone
  • remdesivir
  • tocilizumab


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