Cochrane COVID-19 Study Register
Garcia 2020s

Psychiatric Disorders and Hydroxychloroquine for Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19): a VigiBase Study

  1. Study Type
  2. Observational
  1. Study Aim
  2. Treatment and Management
  1. Study Design
  2. Case series/Case control/Cohort
  1. Intervention Assignment
  2. Not Applicable

Psychiatric Disorders and Hydroxychloroquine for Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19): a VigiBase Study

Garcia P, Revet A, Yrondi A, Rousseau V, Degboe Y, Montastruc F
Journal article
Report Results
INTRODUCTION: In the stressful context of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, some reports have raised concerns regarding psychiatric disorders with the use of hydroxychloroquine. In this study, we reviewed all psychiatric adverse effects with hydroxychloroquine in COVID-19 patients, as well as in other indications, reported in VigiBase, the World Health Organization's (WHO) global database of individual case safety reports. METHODS: First, we analyzed all psychiatric adverse effects, including suicide, of hydroxychloroquine in COVID-19 patients reported to 16 June 2020. We also performed disproportionality analysis to investigate the risk of reporting psychiatric disorders with hydroxychloroquine compared with remdesivir, tocilizumab, or lopinavir/ritonavir prescribed in COVID-19 patients. We used reporting odds ratios (RORs) and their 95% confidence intervals (CIs) to calculate disproportionality. Second, we sought to examine the psychiatric safety profile of hydroxychloroquine in other indications (before 2020). RESULTS: Among the 1754 reports with hydroxychloroquine in COVID-19 patients, we found 56 psychiatric adverse effects. Half of these adverse effects were serious, including four completed suicides, three cases of intentional self-injury, and 12 cases of psychotic disorders with hallucinations. Compared with remdesivir, tocilizumab, or lopinavir/ritonavir, the use of hydroxychloroquine was associated with an increased risk of reporting psychiatric disorders (ROR 6.27, 95% CI 2.74-14.35). Before 2020, suicide was the main cause of death among all adverse drug reactions reported with hydroxychloroquine, followed by cardiac adverse effects (cardiomyopathy) and respiratory failure. CONCLUSIONS: This pharmacovigilance analysis suggests that COVID-19 patients exposed to hydroxychloroquine experienced serious psychiatric disorders, and, among these patients, some committed suicide. Further real-world studies are needed to quantify the psychiatric risk associated with hydroxychloroquine during the COVID-19 pandemic