Am J Ther. 2020 Dec 28;Publish Ahead of Print. doi: 10.1097/MJT.0000000000001319. Online ahead of print.
BACKGROUND: SARS-CoV-2 infects its target cells via angiotensin converting enzyme 2 receptor, a membrane-bound protein found on the surface of many human cells. Treatment with angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors (ACEI) or angiotensin receptors blockers (ARB) has been shown to increase angiotensin converting enzyme 2 expression by up to 5-fold.
AREAS OF UNCERTAINTY: These findings coupled with observations of the high prevalence and mortality among SARS-CoV-2-infected patients with underlying cardiovascular disease have led to a speculation that ACEIs/ARBs may predispose to higher risk of being infected with SARS-CoV-2. Therefore, we systematically reviewed the literature and performed a meta-analysis of the association between prior use of ACEIs and ARBs and the risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection or hospitalization due to COVID-19 disease.
DATA SOURCES: We searched Ovid MEDLINE(R) and Epub Ahead of Print, In-Process & Other Non-Indexed Citations and Daily, Ovid Embase, Ovid Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, Ovid Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, Web of Science, Scopus, and Medrxiv.org preprint server until June 18, 2020.
THERAPEUTIC ADVANCES: Ten studies (6 cohorts and 4 case control) that enrolled a total of 23,892 patients and 853,369 controls were eligible for inclusion in our meta-analysis. One study was excluded from the analysis because of high risk of bias. Prior use of ACEIs was not associated with an increased risk of acquiring SARS-CoV-2 or hospitalization due to COVID-19 disease, odds ratio 0.98, 95% confidence interval (0.91-1.05), I2 = 15%. Similarly, prior use of ARBs was not associated with an increased risk of acquiring SARS-CoV-2, odds ratio 1.04, 95% confidence interval (0.98-1.10), I2 = 0%.
CONCLUSION: Cumulative evidence suggests that prior use of ACEIs or ARBs is not associated with a higher risk of COVID-19 or hospitalization due to COVID-19 disease. Our results provide a reassurance to the public not to discontinue prescribed ACEIs/ARBs because of fear of COVID-19.