High-dose coenzyme Q10 therapy versus placebo in patients with post COVID-19 condition: a randomized, phase 2, crossover trial

Kristoffer S. Hansen*, Trine H. Mogensen, Jane Agergaard, Berit Schiøttz-Christensen, Lars Østergaard, Line K. Vibholm, Steffen Leth*

*Corresponding author for this work

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1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Post COVID-19 condition (PCC) is defined as symptoms lasting more than 12 weeks after developing COVID-19. Evidence of mitochondrial dysfunction has been reported in peripheral blood mononuclear cells obtained from patients with COVID-19. We hypothesized that PCC is caused by prolonged mitochondrial dysfunction. Given that coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) can improve mitochondrial function, we examined whether high-dose CoQ10 can reduce the number and/or severity of PCC-related symptoms.

METHODS: In this placebo-controlled, double-blind, 2 × 2 crossover interventional trial, participants were recruited from two centres at Aarhus University Hospital and Gødstrup Hospital, Denmark. They were randomly assigned to receive either oral capsules of CoQ10 in a dose of 500 mg/day or placebo for 6 weeks, with crossover treatment after a 4-week washout period. The ED-5Q and a PCC-symptom specific questionnaire were completed by the participants at 5 visits during the 20-week study period. The primary endpoint was the change in the number and/or severity of PCC-related symptoms after the 6-week intervention compared to placebo. Participants who completed the two-dosing period were included in the primary analysis, while all participants receiving one dose were included in safety assessment.

FINDINGS: From May 25th, 2021, to September 22nd, 2021, 121 participants underwent randomization, and 119 completed both dosing periods - 59 and 60 in group A and B, respectively. At baseline, the mean PCC-related symptom score was 43.06 (95% CI: 40.18; 45.94), and the mean EQ-5D health index was 0.66 (95% CI: 0.64; 0.68). The difference between CoQ10 and placebo was not significant with respect to either the change in EQ-5D health index (with a mean difference of 0.01; 95% CI: -0.02; 0.04; p = 0.45) or the change in PCC-related symptom score (with a mean difference of -1.18; 95% CI: -3.54; 1.17; p = 0.32).

INTERPRETATION: Based on self-reported data, CoQ10 treatment does not appear to significantly reduce the number or severity of PCC-related symptoms when compared to placebo. However, we observed a significant spontaneous improvement on both scores regardless of treatment during 20 weeks observation.

FUNDING: Placebo and CoQ10 capsules were provided by Pharma Nord, and the trial was supported by grants from the Novo Nordisk Foundation (NNF21OC0066984). This trial is registered with EudraCT, 2020-005961-16 and ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT04960215. The trial is completed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100539
JournalThe Lancet Regional Health - Europe
Volume24
Number of pages9
ISSN2666-7762
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2023

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