Background During COVID-19 pandemic, the safety of medical therapies for inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) in relation to COVID-19 has emerged as an area of concern. This study aimed to evaluate the association between IBD therapies and severe COVID-19 outcomes. Method We performed a systematic review and meta-analysis of all published studies from December 2019 to August 2021 to identify studies that reported severe COVID-19 outcomes in patients on current IBD therapies including 5-aminosalicylic acid (5-ASA), immunomodulators, corticosteroids, biologics, combination therapy, or tofacitinib. Results Twenty-two studies were identified. Corticosteroids (risk ratio (RR) 1.91 (95% CI 1.25 to 2.91, p=0.003)) and 5-ASA (RR 1.50 (95% CI 1.17 to 1.93, p=0.001)) were associated with increased risk of severe COVID-19 outcomes in patients with IBD patients. However, possible confounders for 5-ASA use were not controlled for. Sub-analysis showed that corticosteroids increased the risk of intensive care unit (ICU) admission but not mortality. Immunomodulators alone (RR 1.18 (95% CI 0.87 to 1.59, p=0.28)) or in combination with anti-TNFs ((RR 0.96 (95% CI 0.80 to 1.15, p=0.63)), tofacitinib (RR 0.81 (95% CI 0.49 to 1.33, p=0.40)) and vedolizumab ((RR 1.02 (95% CI 0.79 to 1.31, p=0.89)) were not associated with severe disease. Anti-TNFs (RR 0.47 (95% CI 0.40 to 0.54, p<0.00001)) and ustekinumab (RR 0.55 (95% CI 0.43 to 0.72, p<0.00001)) were associated with decreased risk of severe COVID-19. Conclusion In patients with IBD, the risk of severe COVID-19 is higher among patients receiving corticosteroids. Corticosteroid use was associated with ICU admission but not mortality. The risk is also higher among patients receiving 5-ASAs. However, patient-level data were lacking and insufficient data existed for meta-regression analyses to adjust for confounding. Vedolizumab, tofacitinib, and immunomodulators alone or in combination with anti-TNF were not associated with severe disease. Anti-TNFs, and ustekinumab were associated with favourable outcomes.
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