Meta-analysis: rectal indomethacin for the prevention of post-ERCP pancreatitis Academic Article uri icon

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  • BACKGROUND: Despite initial evidence in the literature, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) have not been widely used to prevent post-endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) pancreatitis (PEP). AIM: To complete a meta-analysis of high-quality RCTs that included the latest available literature published after past meta-analytical efforts METHODS: A comprehensive electronic literature search was carried out for RCTs comparing peri-procedural rectal indomethacin and placebo in preventing PEP. Methodological quality was assessed by the Cochrane risk of bias tool. Fixed model Mantel-Haenszel meta-analysis, Q test and I(2) index were used. Several subgroup and sensitivity analyses were planned. RESULTS: A total of four of 61 retrieved trials between 2007 and 2012 (n = 1470) were included. No significant publication bias existed. All studies used similar criteria to detect pancreatitis. The pooled proportion estimate of the rate of pancreatitis was 5.1% with indomethacin and 10.3% with placebo. After excluding the high-risk patients, the rates were 3.9% and 7.9% respectively. Fixed model meta-analysis showed that the rate of pancreatitis was significantly lower using indomethacin as compared with placebo [OR = 0.49(0.34-0.71); P = 0.0002]. Number needed to treat was 20. There was no significant statistical or clinical heterogeneity. In subgroup analysis, the difference remained unchanged for average-risk population [OR = 0.49(0.28-0.85); P = 0.01] or in preventing severe PEP [OR = 0.41(0.21-0.78); P = 0.007]. The result of the main outcome remained robust in multiple sensitivity analyses. CONCLUSIONS: Rectal indomethacin used immediately before or after ERCP significantly reduces the risk of PEP to half in both low- and high-risk patients, and with both statistically and clinically significant conclusions. These results suggest that a possible change in routine practice for patients at both low and high risk of developing PEP should be advocated.


  • Yaghoobi, Mohammad
  • Rolland, S
  • Waschke, KA
  • McNabb-Baltar, J
  • Martel, M
  • Bijarchi, R
  • Szego, P
  • Barkun, AN

publication date

  • November 2013