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Efficacy and safety of antiscabietic agents: A systematic review and network meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials.

BACKGROUND: Many drugs have been used to treat scabies, but it is unclear which of them is the most efficacious.

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the comparative efficacy and safety of antiscabietic agents.

METHODS: A systematic review of randomized controlled trials was conducted. Direct and network meta-analyses were applied to 13 antiscabietic agents on 3 outcomes (cure, persistent itching, and adverse events). Their probability of having highest efficacy and safety was estimated and ranked.

RESULTS: A network meta-analysis of 52 trials including 9917 patients indicated that permethrin (the reference treatment) had a significantly higher cure rate than sulfur, malathion, lindane, crotamiton, and benzyl benzoate. Combination permethrin plus oral ivermectin had a nonsignificantly higher cure rate than permethrin. Combination permethrin plus oral ivermectin was ranked highest in terms of cure, topical ivermectin in terms of persistent itching, and synergized pyrethrins in terms of adverse events. On the basis of clustered ranking, permethrin, oral ivermectin, and synergized pyrethrins seemed to retain balance between cure and adverse events.

LIMITATIONS: There are small numbers of trials and patients in some comparisons and a high risk of bias in some trials.

CONCLUSION: There is no 1 treatment that ranked highest in all aspects. Physicians should consider the drug's efficacy and safety profiles, along with ease of administration.

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