Eur J Clin Pharmacol. 2021 Nov 24. doi: 10.1007/s00228-021-03255-1. Online ahead of print.
PURPOSE: Several observational studies have presented conflicting results on the association between the use of proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) or histamine H2 receptor antagonist (H2RA) and the risk of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). This systematic review and meta-analysis aimed to examine this association.
METHODS: In July 2021, PubMed, Embase, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, and Web of Science were searched for articles investigating the relationship between the two main acid suppressants and COVID-19. Studies showing the effect estimates as hazard ratio (HR) for severe outcomes or incidence of COVID-19 were evaluated using a random-effects model.
RESULTS: A total of 15 retrospective cohort studies with 18,109 COVID-19 cases were included in the current meta-analysis. PPI use was significantly associated with severe outcomes of COVID-19 (hazard ratio [HR] = 1.53; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.20-1.95) but not with the incidence of COVID-19, whereas H2RA use was significantly associated with decreased incidence (HR = 0.86, 95% CI: 0.76-0.97). For subgroup analyses of PPIs, increased severe outcomes of COVID-19 were observed in < 60 years, active use, in-hospital use, and Asians. For subgroup analyses of H2RAs, decreased severe outcomes of COVID-19 were observed in > 60 years, while in-hospital use and use in Asia were associated with higher disease severity.
CONCLUSIONS: Close observation can be considered for COVID-19 patients who use PPIs to prevent severe outcomes. However, caution should be taken because of substantial heterogeneity and plausible protopathic bias.