Comparative Efficacy And Safety Of Pharmacological Interventions For The Treatment Of COVID-19: A Systematic Review And Network Meta-analysis
Numerous clinical trials and observational studies have investigated various pharmacological agents as potential treatment for Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), but the results are heterogeneous and sometimes even contradictory to one another, making it difficult for clinicians to determine which treatments are truly effective.
We carried out a systematic review and network meta-analysis (NMA) to systematically evaluate the comparative efficacy and safety of pharmacological interventions and the level of evidence behind each treatment regimen in different clinical settings. Both published and unpublished randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and confounding-adjusted observational studies which met our predefined eligibility criteria were collected. We included studies investigating the effect of pharmacological management of patients hospitalized for COVID-19 management. Mild patients who do not require hospitalization or have self-limiting disease courses were not eligible for our NMA. A total of 110 studies (40 RCTs and 70 observational studies) were included. PubMed, Google Scholar, MEDLINE, the Cochrane Library, medRxiv, SSRN, WHO International Clinical Trials Registry Platform, and
In this NMA, we found that anti-inflammatory agents (corticosteroids, tocilizumab, anakinra, and IVIG), convalescent plasma, and remdesivir were associated with improved outcomes of hospitalized COVID-19 patients. Hydroxychloroquine did not provide clinical benefits while posing cardiac safety risks when combined with azithromycin, especially in the vulnerable population. Only 29% of current evidence on pharmacological management of COVID-19 is supported by moderate or high certainty and can be translated to practice and policy; the remaining 71% are of low or very low certainty and warrant further studies to establish firm conclusions.