Antibiotics for secondary prevention of coronary heart disease.Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2021 02 23; 2:CD003610.CD
Coronary heart disease is the leading cause of mortality worldwide with approximately 7.4 million deaths each year. People with established coronary heart disease have a high risk of subsequent cardiovascular events including myocardial infarction, stroke, and cardiovascular death. Antibiotics might prevent such outcomes due to their antibacterial, antiinflammatory, and antioxidative effects. However, a randomised clinical trial and several observational studies have suggested that antibiotics may increase the risk of cardiovascular events and mortality. Furthermore, several non-Cochrane Reviews, that are now outdated, have assessed the effects of antibiotics for coronary heart disease and have shown conflicting results. No previous systematic review using Cochrane methodology has assessed the effects of antibiotics for coronary heart disease.
We assessed the benefits and harms of antibiotics compared with placebo or no intervention for the secondary prevention of coronary heart disease.
We searched CENTRAL, MEDLINE, Embase, LILACS, SCI-EXPANDED, and BIOSIS in December 2019 in order to identify relevant trials. Additionally, we searched TRIP, Google Scholar, and nine trial registries in December 2019. We also contacted 11 pharmaceutical companies and searched the reference lists of included trials, previous systematic reviews, and other types of reviews.
Randomised clinical trials assessing the effects of antibiotics versus placebo or no intervention for secondary prevention of coronary heart disease in adult participants (≥18 years). Trials were included irrespective of setting, blinding, publication status, publication year, language, and reporting of our outcomes.
DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS
Three review authors independently extracted data. Our primary outcomes were all-cause mortality, serious adverse event according to the International Conference on Harmonization - Good Clinical Practice (ICH-GCP), and quality of life. Our secondary outcomes were cardiovascular mortality, myocardial infarction, stroke, and sudden cardiac death. Our primary time point of interest was at maximum follow-up. Additionally, we extracted outcome data at 24±6 months follow-up. We assessed the risks of systematic errors using Cochrane 'Rosk of bias' tool. We calculated risk ratios (RRs) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for dichotomous outcomes. We calculated absolute risk reduction (ARR) or increase (ARI) and number needed to treat for an additional beneficial outcome (NNTB) or for an additional harmful outcome (NNTH) if the outcome result showed a beneficial or harmful effect, respectively. The certainty of the body of evidence was assessed by GRADE.
We included 38 trials randomising a total of 26,638 participants (mean age 61.6 years), with 23/38 trials reporting data on 26,078 participants that could be meta-analysed. Three trials were at low risk of bias and the 35 remaining trials were at high risk of bias. Trials assessing the effects of macrolides (28 trials; 22,059 participants) and quinolones (two trials; 4162 participants) contributed with the vast majority of the data. Meta-analyses at maximum follow-up showed that antibiotics versus placebo or no intervention seemed to increase the risk of all-cause mortality (RR 1.06; 95% CI 0.99 to 1.13; P = 0.07; I2 = 0%; ARI 0.48%; NNTH 208; 25,774 participants; 20 trials; high certainty of evidence), stroke (RR 1.14; 95% CI 1.00 to 1.29; P = 0.04; I2 = 0%; ARI 0.73%; NNTH 138; 14,774 participants; 9 trials; high certainty of evidence), and probably also cardiovascular mortality (RR 1.11; 95% CI 0.98 to 1.25; P = 0.11; I2= 0%; 4674 participants; 2 trials; moderate certainty of evidence). Little to no difference was observed when assessing the risk of myocardial infarction (RR 0.95; 95% CI 0.88 to 1.03; P = 0.23; I2 = 0%; 25,523 participants; 17 trials; high certainty of evidence). No evidence of a difference was observed when assessing sudden cardiac death (RR 1.08; 95% CI 0.90 to 1.31; P = 0.41; I2 = 0%; 4520 participants; 2 trials; moderate certainty of evidence). Meta-analyses at 24±6 months follow-up showed that antibiotics versus placebo or no intervention increased the risk of all-cause mortality (RR 1.25; 95% CI 1.06 to 1.48; P = 0.007; I2 = 0%; ARI 1.26%; NNTH 79 (95% CI 335 to 42); 9517 participants; 6 trials; high certainty of evidence), cardiovascular mortality (RR 1.50; 95% CI 1.17 to 1.91; P = 0.001; I2 = 0%; ARI 1.12%; NNTH 89 (95% CI 261 to 49); 9044 participants; 5 trials; high certainty of evidence), and probably also sudden cardiac death (RR 1.77; 95% CI 1.28 to 2.44; P = 0.0005; I2 = 0%; ARI 1.9%; NNTH 53 (95% CI 145 to 28); 4520 participants; 2 trials; moderate certainty of evidence). No evidence of a difference was observed when assessing the risk of myocardial infarction (RR 0.95; 95% CI 0.82 to 1.11; P = 0.53; I2 = 43%; 9457 participants; 5 trials; moderate certainty of evidence) and stroke (RR 1.17; 95% CI 0.90 to 1.52; P = 0.24; I2 = 0%; 9457 participants; 5 trials; high certainty of evidence). Meta-analyses of trials at low risk of bias differed from the overall analyses when assessing cardiovascular mortality at maximum follow-up. For all other outcomes, meta-analyses of trials at low risk of bias did not differ from the overall analyses. None of the trials specifically assessed serious adverse event according to ICH-GCP. No data were found on quality of life.