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Year : 2020  |  Volume : 52  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 313-323

Safety and efficacy of lopinavir/ritonavir combination in COVID-19: A systematic review, meta-analysis, and meta-regression analysis

1 Department of Ophthalmology, Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, Chandigarh, India
2 Department of Pharmacology, Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh, Chandigarh, India
3 Department of Biophysics, Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh, Chandigarh, India
4 Department of Psychiatry, Gauhati Medical College and Hospital, Guwahati, Assam, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Bikash Medhi
Department of Pharmacology, Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh, Chandigarh - 160 012
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ijp.IJP_627_20

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BACKGROUND: Being protease inhibitors and owing to their efficacy in SARS-CoV, lopinavir + ritonavir (L/R) combination is being used in the management of COVID-19. In this systematic review and meta-analysis, we have evaluated the comparative safety and efficacy of L/R combination. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Comparative, observational studies and controlled clinical trials comparing L/R combination to standard of care (SOC)/control or any other antiviral agent/combinations were included. A total of 10 databases were searched to identify 13 studies that fulfilled the predefined inclusion/exclusion criteria. RESULTS: No discernible beneficial effect was seen in the L/R group in comparison to SOC/control in terms of “progression to more severe state” (4 studies, odds ratio [OR]: 1.446 [0.722–2.895]), “mortality” (3 studies, OR: 1.208 [0.563–2.592]), and “virological cure on days 7–10” (3 studies, OR: 0.777 [0.371–1.630]), while the L/R combination arm performed better than the SOC/control arm in terms of “duration of hospital stay” (3 studies, mean difference (MD): −1.466 [−2.403 to − 0.529]) and “time to virological cure” (3 studies, MD: −3.272 [−6.090 to − 0.454]). No difference in efficacy was found between L/R versus hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) and L/R versus arbidol. However, in a single randomized controlled trail (open label), chloroquine (CQ) performed better than L/R. The combination L/R with arbidol may be beneficial (in terms of virological clearance and radiological improvement); however, we need more dedicated studies. Single studies report efficacy of L/R + interferon (IFN, either alpha or 1-beta) combination. We need more studies to delineate the proper effect size. Regarding adverse effects, except occurrence of diarrhea (higher in the L/R group), safety was comparable to SOC. CONCLUSION: In our study, no difference was seen between the L/R combination and the SOC arm in terms of “progression to more severe state,” “mortality,” and virological cure on days 7–10;” however, some benefits in terms of “duration of hospital stay” and “time to virological cure” were seen. No significant difference in efficacy was seen when L/R was compared to arbidol and HCQ monotherapy. Except for the occurrence of diarrhea, which was higher in the L/R group, safety profile of L/R is comparable to SOC. Compared to L/R combination, CQ, L/R + arbidol, L/R + IFN-α, and L/R + IFN-1β showed better efficacy, but the external validity of these findings is limited by limited number of studies (1 study each).


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