The Effect of Indomethacin in the Prevention of Post–Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatography Pancreatitis: A Meta-Analysis

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Acute pancreatitis after endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) is a severe complication with substantial morbidity and mortality. Indomethacin has been identified to prevent this complication; however, the results using indomethacin have varied. Therefore, we performed a meta-analysis on the efficacy of rectally administered indomethacin in the prevention of post-ERCP pancreatitis (PEP).


A systematic search was performed in November 2012. Randomized, placebo-controlled trials (randomized controlled trials) in adult patients that compared rectally administered indomethacin versus placebo in prevention of PEP were included. Meta-analysis was performed using a fixed-effects model to assess the primary outcome (PEP) and secondary outcomes (mild or moderate to severe PEP) using Review Manager 5.1.


Four randomized controlled trials met the inclusion criteria (n = 1422). The use of indomethacin near the time of ERCP demonstrated a statistically significant decrease in PEP (odds ratio [OR], 0.49; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.34–0.71; P < 0.01), mild PEP (OR, 0.52; 95% CI, 0.32–0.86; P = 0.01), and moderate to severe PEP (OR, 0.45; 95% CI, 0.24–0.83; P = 0.01) as compared with placebo. The number needed to treat with indomethacin to prevent 1 episode of pancreatitis is 17 patients.


Rectal indomethacin significantly reduced the incidence of PEP. We recommend using indomethacin before or just after the procedure in patients undergoing ERCP.

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