Role of anti-allergic agents on attenuating transfusion reactions in adults: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Shiyuan Yu, Yanxia Gao, Joseph Harold Walline, Xin Lu, Lina Zhao, Yi Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background: Anti-allergic agents (e.g. dexamethasone, chlorpheniramine or promethazine) are commonly administered to patients prior to blood product transfusions. However, the use of these agents is largely experience-based instead of evidence-based. This meta-analysis aimed to explore the evidence behind using anti-allergic agents to attenuate transfusion reactions. Materials and Methods: The Pubmed, EMBASE, Cochrane Library, Wanfang, Chinese National Knowledge Infrastructure (CNKI), and Chinese Biomedical literature (CMB) databases were all queried for related articles. Data from groups treated with and without anti-allergic agents were collected for meta-analysis using RevMan 5.3. Baseline characteristics and univariate statistics between groups were compared using SPSS 19.0. Results: Eight eligible articles (six case control studies and two randomized controlled trials, all with high risks of bias) were identified (22060 total cases). Administered anti-allergic agents in these studies only included dexamethasone, chlorpheniramine or promethazine. Baseline characteristics showed no significant age or gender differences between treatment or control groups. There were no significant differences between the pooled experimental or control groups (for each of the three medications) in terms of fever, pruritis, rash, airway spasm or overall transfusion reaction rates. Conclusion: There is no evidence that dexamethasone, chlorpheniramine or promethazine can prevent transfusion reactions. Avoiding the arbitrary use of such anti-allergic agents before blood transfusions may potentially avoid needless adverse drug reactions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number103041
JournalTransfusion and Apheresis Science
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Hematology


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