Drug dosing in hospitalized obese patients with COVID-19

Jeffrey F. Barletta, Brian L. Erstad

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Obesity is highly prevalent in hospitalized patients admitted with COVID-19. Evidence based guidelines are available for COVID-19-related therapies but dosing information specific to patients with obesity is lacking. Failure to account for the pharmacokinetic alterations that exist in this population can lead to underdosing, and treatment failure, or overdosing, resulting in an adverse effect. The objective of this manuscript is to provide clinicians with guidance for making dosing decisions for medications used in the treatment of patients with COVID-19. A detailed literature search was conducted for medications listed in evidence-based guidelines from the National Institutes of Health with an emphasis on pharmacokinetics, dosing and obesity. Retrieved manuscripts were evaluated and the following prioritization strategy was used to form the decision framework for recommendations: clinical outcome data > pharmacokinetic studies > adverse effects > physicochemical properties. Most randomized controlled studies included a substantial number of patients who were obese but few had large numbers of patients more extreme forms of obesity. Pharmacokinetic data have described alterations with volume of distribution and clearance but this variability does not appear to warrant dosing modifications. Future studies should provide more information on size descriptors and stratification of data according to obesity and body habitus. Graphic Abstract: [Figure not available: see fulltext.]

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number60
JournalCritical Care
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2022


  • Baricitinib
  • COVID-19
  • Dexamethasone
  • Dosing
  • Obesity
  • Remdesivir
  • Sarilumab
  • Tocilizumab
  • Tofacitinib

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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