Meta-analysis was used to estimate the effects of anthelmintic treatment on milk production in dairy cows. The literature search included peer-reviewed journals (both full articles and abstracts), conference proceedings and theses and included documents written in English, Spanish, French, Portuguese or Italian. The study outcome was defined as the difference in milk production (kg/cow per day) between treated and untreated cows. Random effect meta-analyses were performed on 75 trials published between 1972 and 2002. The combined estimate after controlling for publication bias and/or small-study effect was of 0.35 kg/cow per day. Significant variation among studies was detected and although several variables were associated with the study outcome, they did not significantly reduce the unexplained variability among trials. Trials reporting the use of endectocides had higher milk-production response compared with trials using older anthelmintics. Similarly, whole-herd treatment trials or trials which applied the treatment in mid-lactation or strategically throughout the year had higher response compared with calving or dry-period treatment trials. Trials reporting the results as total 305-day milk production had lower response compared with trials which measured production as daily milk weight. Primiparous cows trials had lower responses compared with multiparous cows trials.