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Systematic review and meta-analysis of the efficacy and safety of immunosuppressive pulse therapy in the treatment of paraquat poisoning

Xu, Ying-ge, Lu, Yuan-qiang
Journal of Zhejiang University 2019 v.20 no.7 pp. 588-597
adverse effects, antidotes, cyclophosphamide, glucocorticoids, hepatitis, immunosuppression, leukopenia, lungs, meta-analysis, mortality, paraquat, patients, poisoning, renal failure, sepsis (infection), systematic review, therapeutics
Paraquat (PQ), a highly effective herbicide, is widely used worldwide. PQ poisoning can cause multiple organ failure, in which the lung is the primary target organ. After PQ poisoning, the patient mortality rate is as high as 90%, and there is currently no specific antidote. The main clinical treatment is the use of glucocorticoids and cyclophosphamide for pulse therapy, but its effectiveness and safety are still uncertain. We investigated the effectiveness and safety of immunosuppressive pulse therapy with glucocorticoids and cyclophosphamide to evaluate the treatment value in patients with acute PQ poisoning. This meta-analysis, combined with seven trials that enrolled a total of 426 patients, showed that immunosuppressive pulse therapy with glucocorticoids and cyclophosphamide for PQ poisoning significantly reduced mortality of the study group (59.3%, 134/226) compared with the control group (81.0%, 162/200). There was no significant difference of hepatitis or renal failure between the control and study groups, indicating that immunosuppressive pulse therapy was relatively safe. Several patients were reported to have leukopenia and returned to normal after 1–2 weeks without any abnormalities. Two cases of non-fatal sepsis were reported and considered to be a side effect of the immunosuppressive pulse therapy. Thus, immunosuppressive pulse therapy can efficiently reduce the mortality of PQ poisoning and it is relatively safe.