Randomized Phase 3 Trial of Ruxolitinib for COVID-19-Associated Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome∗

Lindsay Rein, Karel Calero, Ronak Shah, Charles Ojielo, Kristin M. Hudock, Saba Lodhi, Farid Sadaka, Shashi Bellam, Christopher Palma, David N. Hager, Jeannie Daniel, Richard Schaub, Kevin O'hayer, Nicole M. Theodoropoulos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


OBJECTIVES: Evaluate the safety and efficacy of the Janus kinase (JAK)1/JAK2 inhibitor ruxolitinib in COVID-19-associated acute respiratory distress syndrome requiring mechanical ventilation. DESIGN: Phase 3 randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial Ruxolitinib in Participants With COVID-19-Associated Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome Who Require Mechanical Ventilation (RUXCOVID-DEVENT; NCT04377620). SETTING: Hospitals and community-based private or group practices in the United States (29 sites) and Russia (4 sites). PATIENTS: Eligible patients were greater than or equal to 12 years old, hospitalized with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 infection, and mechanically ventilated with a Pao2/Fio2of less than or equal to 300 mm Hg within 6 hours of randomization. INTERVENTIONS: Patients were randomized 2:2:1 to receive twice-daily ruxolitinib 15 mg, ruxolitinib 5 mg, or placebo, each plus standard therapy. MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS: The primary endpoint, 28-day mortality, was tested for each ruxolitinib group versus placebo using a mixed-effects logistic regression model and one-tailed significance test (significance threshold: p < 0.025); no type 1 error was allocated to secondary endpoints. Between May 24, 2020 and December 15, 2020, 211 patients (age range, 24-87 yr) were randomized (ruxolitinib 15/5 mg, n = 77/87; placebo, n = 47). Acute respiratory distress syndrome was categorized as severe in 27% of patients (58/211) at randomization; 90% (190/211) received concomitant steroids. Day-28 mortality was 51% (39/77; 95% CI, 39-62%) for ruxolitinib 15 mg, 53% (45/85; 95% CI, 42-64%) for ruxolitinib 5 mg, and 70% (33/47; 95% CI, 55-83%) for placebo. Neither ruxolitinib 15 mg (odds ratio, 0.46 [95% CI, 0.201-1.028]; one-sided p = 0.029) nor 5 mg (odds ratio, 0.42 [95% CI, 0.171-1.023]; one-sided p = 0.028) significantly reduced 28-day mortality versus placebo. Numerical improvements with ruxolitinib 15 mg versus placebo were observed in secondary outcomes including ventilator-, ICU-, and vasopressor-free days. Rates of overall and serious treatment-emergent adverse events were similar across treatments. CONCLUSIONS: The observed reduction in 28-day mortality rate between ruxolitinib and placebo in mechanically ventilated patients with COVID-19-associated acute respiratory distress syndrome was not statistically significant; however, the trial was underpowered owing to early termination.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1701-1713
Number of pages13
JournalCritical care medicine
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 2022


  • COVID-19
  • Janus kinase inhibitors
  • randomized controlled trial
  • respiration, artificial
  • respiratory distress syndrome
  • severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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