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Antibiotics for the treatment of COVID-19.
Popp, Maria; Stegemann, Miriam; Riemer, Manuel; Metzendorf, Maria-Inti; Romero, Carolina S; Mikolajewska, Agata; Kranke, Peter; Meybohm, Patrick; Skoetz, Nicole; Weibel, Stephanie.
  • Popp M; Department of Anaesthesiology, Intensive Care, Emergency and Pain Medicine, University Hospital Wuerzburg, Wuerzburg, Germany.
  • Stegemann M; Department of Infectious Diseases and Respiratory Medicine, Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin, corporate member of Freie Universität Berlin and Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Berlin, Germany.
  • Riemer M; Department of Anaesthesiology, Intensive Care, Emergency and Pain Medicine, University Hospital Wuerzburg, Wuerzburg, Germany.
  • Metzendorf MI; Cochrane Metabolic and Endocrine Disorders Group, Institute of General Practice, Medical Faculty of the Heinrich-Heine-University Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf, Germany.
  • Romero CS; Department of Anaesthesiology, Intensive Care, Emergency and Pain Medicine, General University Hospital Valencia, Valencia, Spain.
  • Mikolajewska A; Department of Infectious Diseases and Respiratory Medicine, Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin, corporate member of Freie Universität Berlin and Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Berlin, Germany.
  • Kranke P; Department of Anaesthesiology, Intensive Care, Emergency and Pain Medicine, University Hospital Wuerzburg, Wuerzburg, Germany.
  • Meybohm P; Department of Anaesthesiology, Intensive Care, Emergency and Pain Medicine, University Hospital Wuerzburg, Wuerzburg, Germany.
  • Skoetz N; Cochrane Cancer, Department I of Internal Medicine, Center for Integrated Oncology Aachen Bonn Cologne Duesseldorf, Faculty of Medicine and University Hospital Cologne, University of Cologne, Cologne, Germany.
  • Weibel S; Department of Anaesthesiology, Intensive Care, Emergency and Pain Medicine, University Hospital Wuerzburg, Wuerzburg, Germany.
Cochrane Database Syst Rev ; 10: CD015025, 2021 10 22.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1482091
ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND:

The effect of antibiotics with potential antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties are being investigated in clinical trials as treatment for COVID-19. The use of antibiotics follows the intention-to-treat the viral disease and not primarily to treat bacterial co-infections of individuals with COVID-19. A thorough understanding of the current evidence regarding effectiveness and safety of antibiotics as anti-viral treatments for COVID-19 based on randomised controlled trials (RCTs) is required.

OBJECTIVES:

To assess the efficacy and safety of antibiotics compared to each other, no treatment, standard of care alone, placebo, or any other active intervention with proven efficacy for treatment of COVID-19 outpatients and inpatients.  SEARCH

METHODS:

We searched the Cochrane COVID-19 Study Register (including MEDLINE, Embase, ClinicalTrials.gov, WHO ICTRP, medRxiv, CENTRAL), Web of Science and WHO COVID-19 Global literature on coronavirus disease to identify completed and ongoing studies to 14 June 2021. SELECTION CRITERIA RCTs were included that compared antibiotics with each other, no treatment, standard of care alone, placebo, or another proven intervention, for treatment of people with confirmed COVID-19, irrespective of disease severity, treated in the in- or outpatient settings. Co-interventions had to be the same in both study arms. We excluded studies comparing antibiotics to other pharmacological interventions with unproven efficacy. DATA COLLECTION AND

ANALYSIS:

We assessed risk of bias of primary outcomes using the Cochrane risk of bias tool (ROB 2) for RCTs. We used GRADE to rate the certainty of evidence for the following primary

outcomes:

1. to treat inpatients with moderate to severe COVID-19 mortality, clinical worsening defined as new need for intubation or death, clinical improvement defined as being discharged alive, quality of life, adverse and serious adverse events, and cardiac arrhythmias; 2. to treat outpatients with asymptomatic or mild COVID-19 mortality, clinical worsening defined as hospital admission or death, clinical improvement defined as symptom resolution, quality of life, adverse and serious adverse events, and cardiac arrhythmias. MAIN

RESULTS:

We included 11 studies with 11,281 participants with an average age of 54 years investigating antibiotics compared to placebo, standard of care alone or another antibiotic. No study was found comparing antibiotics to an intervention with proven efficacy. All studies investigated azithromycin, two studies investigated other antibiotics compared to azithromycin. Seven studies investigated inpatients with moderate to severe COVID-19 and four investigated mild COVID-19 cases in outpatient settings. Eight studies had an open-label design, two were blinded with a placebo control, and one did not report on blinding. We identified 19 ongoing and 15 studies awaiting classification pending publication of results or clarification of inconsistencies. Of the 30 study results contributing to primary outcomes by included studies, 17 were assessed as overall low risk and 13 as some concerns of bias. Only studies investigating azithromycin reported data eligible for the prioritised primary outcomes. Azithromycin doses and treatment duration varied among included studies.  Azithromycin for the treatment of COVID-19 compared to placebo or standard of care alone in inpatients We are very certain that azithromycin has little or no effect on all-cause mortality at day 28 compared to standard of care alone (risk ratio (RR) 0.98; 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.90 to 1.06; 8600 participants; 4 studies; high-certainty evidence). Azithromycin probably has little or no effect on clinical worsening or death at day 28 (RR 0.95; 95% CI 0.87 to 1.03; 7311 participants; 1 study; moderate-certainty evidence), on clinical improvement at day 28 (RR 0.96; 95% CI 0.84 to 1.11; 8172 participants; 3 studies; moderate-certainty evidence), on serious adverse events during the study period (RR 1.11; 95% CI 0.89 to 1.40; 794 participants; 4 studies; moderate-certainty evidence), and cardiac arrhythmias during the study period (RR 0.92; 95% CI 0.73 to 1.15; 7865 participants; 4 studies; moderate-certainty evidence) compared to placebo or standard of care alone. Azithromycin may increase any adverse events slightly during the study period (RR 1.20; 95% CI 0.92 to 1.57; 355 participants; 3 studies; low-certainty evidence) compared to standard of care alone. No study reported quality of life up to 28 days. Azithromycin for the treatment of COVID-19 compared to placebo or standard of care alone in outpatients Azithromycin may have little or no effect compared to placebo or standard of care alone on all-cause mortality at day 28 (RR 1.00 ; 95% CI 0.06 to 15.69; 876 participants; 3 studies; low-certainty evidence), on admission to hospital or death within 28 days (RR 0.94 ; 95% CI 0.57 to 1.56; 876 participants; 3 studies; low-certainty evidence), and on symptom resolution at day 14 (RR 1.03; 95% CI 0.95 to 1.12; 138 participants; 1 study; low-certainty evidence). We are uncertain whether azithromycin increases or reduces serious adverse events compared to placebo or standard of care alone (0 participants experienced serious adverse events; 454 participants; 2 studies; very low-certainty evidence). No study reported on adverse events, cardiac arrhythmias during the study period or quality of life up to 28 days. Azithromycin for the treatment of COVID-19 compared to any other antibiotics in inpatients and outpatients One study compared azithromycin to lincomycin in inpatients, but did not report any primary outcome. Another study compared azithromycin to clarithromycin in outpatients, but did not report any relevant outcome for this review. AUTHORS'

CONCLUSIONS:

We are certain that risk of death in hospitalised COVID-19 patients is not reduced by treatment with azithromycin after 28 days. Further, based on moderate-certainty evidence, patients in the inpatient setting with moderate and severe disease probably do not benefit from azithromycin used as potential antiviral and anti-inflammatory treatment for COVID-19 regarding clinical worsening or improvement. For the outpatient setting, there is currently low-certainty evidence that azithromycin may have no beneficial effect for COVID-19 individuals. There is no evidence from RCTs available for other antibiotics as antiviral and anti-inflammatory treatment of COVID-19. With accordance to the living approach of this review, we will continually update our search and include eligible trials to fill this evidence gap. However, in relation to the evidence for azithromycin and in the context of antimicrobial resistance, antibiotics should not be used for treatment of COVID-19 outside well-designed RCTs.
Subject(s)

Full text: Available Collection: International databases Database: MEDLINE Main subject: COVID-19 Type of study: Controlled clinical trial / Prognostic study / Randomized controlled trials / Reviews / Systematic review Limits: Humans / Middle aged Language: English Journal: Cochrane Database Syst Rev Journal subject: Health Services Research Year: 2021 Document Type: Article Affiliation country: 14651858.CD015025

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Full text: Available Collection: International databases Database: MEDLINE Main subject: COVID-19 Type of study: Controlled clinical trial / Prognostic study / Randomized controlled trials / Reviews / Systematic review Limits: Humans / Middle aged Language: English Journal: Cochrane Database Syst Rev Journal subject: Health Services Research Year: 2021 Document Type: Article Affiliation country: 14651858.CD015025