Welch VA, Ghogomu E, Hossain A, Riddle A, Gaffey M, Arora P, Dewidar O, Salam R, Cousens S, Black R, Hollingsworth TD, Horton S, Tugwell P, Bundy D, Castro MC, Elliott A, Friis H, Le HT, Liu C, Rousham EK, Rohner F, King C, Sartono E, Supali T, Steinmann P, Webb E, Wieringa F, Winnichagoon P, Yazdanbakhsh M, Bhutta YA, Wells G
November 2019 – Campbell Systematic Reviews
Soil transmitted (or intestinal) helminths and schistosomes affect millions of children worldwide. We used individual participant data network meta‐analysis (NMA) to explore the effects of different types and frequency of deworming drugs on anaemia, cognition and growth across potential effect modifiers. Our study included randomised and quasirandomised deworming trials in children for deworming compared to placebo or other interventions with data on baseline infection. The covariates were: age, sex, weight, height, haemoglobin and infection intensity. The effect estimate chosen was the mean difference for the continuous outcome of interest. We received data from 19 randomized controlled trials with 31,945 participants. Overall risk of bias was low. There were no statistically significant subgroup effects across any of the potential effect modifiers. However, analyses showed that there may be greater effects on weight for moderate to heavily infected children (very low certainty evidence). This analysis reinforces the case against mass deworming at a population‐level, finding little effect on nutritional status or cognition. However, children with heavier intensity infections may benefit more. We urge the global community to adopt calls to make data available in open repositories to facilitate individual participant data analyses such as this, which aim to assess effects for the most vulnerable individuals.