Background: We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis to evaluate the efficacy of ivermectin for COVID-19 patients based on current peer-reviewed RCTs and to address disputes over the existing evidence.
Methods: MEDLINE (Pubmed), Scopus, Web of Science, Cochrane library, Google scholar and Clinicaltrials.gov were searched for RCTs assessing the efficacy of Ivermectin up to 20 February 2022. A systematic review and meta-analysis of studies was performed based on the PRISMA 2020 statement criteria.
Results: 19 and 17 studies were included in this systematic review and meta-analysis, respectively. There was no significant difference in progression to severe disease (log OR - 0.27 [95% CI - 0.61 to 0.08], I2 = 42.29%), negative RT-PCR (log OR 0.25 [95% CI - 0.18-0.68], I2 = 58.73%), recovery (log OR 0.11 [95% CI - 0.22-0.45], I2 = 13.84%), duration of hospitalization (SMD - 0.40 [95% CI - 0.85-0.06], I2 = 88.90%), time to negative RT-PCR (SMD - 0.36 [95% CI - 0.89-0.17], I2 = 46.2%), and viral load (SMD -0.17 [95% CI -0.45 to 0.12], I^2 = 0%). It is worth noting that, based on low-certainty evidence, ivermectin may possibly reduce mortality (log OR - 0.67 [95% CI - 1.20 to - 0.13], I2 = 28.96%). However, studies with a higher risk of bias were more likely to indicate positive effects on the efficacy of this drug, according to our subgroup analyses based on study quality.
Conclusion: Ivermectin did not have any significant effect on outcomes of COVID-19 patients and as WHO recommends, use of ivermectin should be limited to clinical trials.
Keywords: COVID-19; Ivermectin; Meta-analysis; Mortality; SARS-CoV-2; Treatment.
© 2022. The Author(s).