Drug Saf. 2021 Apr 16. doi: 10.1007/s40264-021-01066-y. Online ahead of print.
INTRODUCTION AND OBJECTIVE: Ivermectin (IVM) and doxycycline (DOXY) have demonstrated in-vitro activity against SARS-CoV-2, and have a reasonable safety profile. The objective of this systematic review was to explore the evidence in the literature on the safety and efficacy of their use as monotherapy and combination therapy in COVID-19 management.
METHODS: After prospectively registering the study protocol with the Open Science Framework, we searched PubMed, Google Scholar, clinicaltrials.gov, various pre-print servers and reference lists for relevant records published until 16 February, 2021 using appropriate search strategies. Baseline features and data pertaining to efficacy and safety outcomes were extracted separately for IVM monotherapy, DOXY monotherapy, and IVM + DOXY combination therapy. Methodological quality was assessed based on the study design.
RESULTS: Out of 200 articles screened, 19 studies (six retrospective cohort studies, seven randomised controlled trials, five non-randomised trials, one case series) with 8754 unique patients with multiple stages of COVID-19 were included; four were pre-prints and one was an unpublished clinicaltrials.gov document. The comparator was standard care and 'hydroxychloroquine + azithromycin' in seven and three studies respectively, and two studies were placebo controlled; six studies did not have a comparator. IVM monotherapy, DOXY monotherapy and IVM + DOXY were explored in eight, five and five studies, respectively; one study compared IVM monotherapy and IVM + DOXY with placebo. While all studies described efficacy, the safety profile was described in only six studies. Efficacy outcomes were mixed with some studies concluding in favour of the intervention and some studies displaying no significant benefit; barring one study that described 9/183 patients with erosive esophagitis and non-ulcer dyspepsia with IVM + DOXY (without causality assessment details), there were no new safety signals of concern with any of the three interventions considered. The quality of studies varied widely, with five studies having a 'good' methodological quality.
CONCLUSIONS: Evidence is not sufficiently strong to either promote or refute the efficacy of IVM, DOXY, or their combination in COVID-19 management.
SYSTEMATIC REVIEW PROTOCOL REGISTRATION DETAILS: Open Science Framework: https://osf.io/n7r2j .