Efficacy of mebendazole in paediatric patients with giardiasis: A systematic review and meta-analysis.
Mebendazole (MBZ), a benzimidazole compound, has received attention in treating patients with giardiasis because it has shown beneficial effects both in vitro and in vivo. The aim of this study was to assess with a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) the efficacy of MBZ compared to other antigiardial agents in children. We searched RCTs of MBZ for the treatment of Giardia infections published in PubMed and EBSCOhost. Application of inclusion and exclusion criteria, data extraction, and assessment of methodological quality were independently performed in duplicate. The primary outcome was the parasitological cure. We included 7 RCTs in the systematic review (639 patients). There was no clinical difference in the parasitological cure between MBZ and metronidazole (MTZ). The relative risk (RR) was 0.81 [95% Confidence Interval 0.61-1.09], with high heterogeneity (4 trials, I2 = 81%). The prediction interval expected to cover the results of a new trial was wide enough (0.22-2.96) to support both a clinically relevant difference favouring either MBZ or MTZ. The decision to support any treatment should be based not only on efficacy but also safety and cost. Although our results suggest that MBZ may be an effective treatment option for children with Giardia infection, they should also be interpreted and translated into clinical practice with caution, as the evidence is based on a limited number of RCTs presenting high heterogeneity.
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