Cardiac Safety of Imatinib for the Treatment of COVID-19: A Secondary Analysis of a Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial

CounterCOVID Collaborative Group

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3 Citations (Scopus)


Abstract:Although previous studies support the clinical benefit of imatinib regarding respiratory status in hospitalized patients with COVID-19, potential cardiotoxicity may limit its clinical application. This study aimed to investigate the cardiac safety of imatinib in COVID-19. In the CounterCOVID study, 385 hospitalized hypoxemic patients with COVID-19 were randomly assigned to receive 10 days of oral imatinib or placebo in a 1:1 ratio. Patients with a corrected QT interval (QTc) >500 ms or left ventricular ejection fraction <40% were excluded. Severe cardiac adverse events were monitored for 28 days or until death occurred. Electrocardiogram measurements and cardiac biomarkers were assessed repeatedly during the first 10 days. A total of 36 severe cardiac events occurred, with a similar incidence in both treatment groups. No differences were observed in the computer-generated Bazett, manually interpreted Bazett, or Fridericia-interpreted QTcs. No clinically relevant alterations in other electrocardiogram parameters or plasma high-sensitivity cardiac troponin T (hs-cTnT) and N-terminal prohormone of brain natriuretic peptide (NT-proBNP) concentrations were observed. Similar findings were observed in a subgroup of 72 patients admitted to the intensive care unit. In the univariate and multivariable linear mixed models, treatment with imatinib was not significantly associated with QT interval duration, hs-cTnT, or NT-proBNP levels. In conclusion, imatinib treatment did not result in more cardiac events, QT interval prolongation, or altered hs-cTnT or NT-proBNP levels. This suggests that treatment with imatinib is safe in hospitalized patients with COVID-19 with a QTc duration of less than 500 ms and left ventricular ejection fraction >40%.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)783-791
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Cardiovascular Pharmacology
Issue number6
Early online date15 Aug 2022
Publication statusPublished - 28 Dec 2022


  • COVID-19
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • biomarkers
  • cardiac safety
  • electrocardiography
  • imatinib

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