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Background Roxadustat (ROX) is a new medication for anemia as a complication of chronic kidney disease (CKD). Our meta-analysis aims to evaluate the efficacy and safety of ROX, especially on the cardiovascular risks, for anemia in NDD-CKD patients. Methods Electronic databases were searched systematically from inception to July 2021 to look for randomized control trials (RCTs) that evaluated ROX NDD-CKD patients. Hemoglobin level and iron utilization parameters, including ferritin, serum iron, transferrin saturation (TSAT), total iron-binding capacity (TIBC), transferrin, and hepcidin were analyzed for efficacy. Pooled risk ratios (RRs) and standardized mean differences (SMDs) were calculated and presented with their 95% confidential intervals (CIs). Results Nine RCTs included a total of 3,175 patients in the ROX group and 2,446 patients in the control group. When compared the control group, ROX increased Hb level significantly (SMD: 1.65; 95% CI: 1.08, 2.22; P< 0.00001) and improved iron utilization parameters by decreasing ferritin (SMD: -0.32; 95% CI: -0.51, -0.14; P = 0.0006), TSAT (SMD: -0.19; 95% CI: -0.32, -0.07; P = 0.003), and hepcidin (SMD: -0.74; 95% CI: -1.09, -0.39; P< 0.0001) and increasing TIBC (SMD: 0.99; 95% CI: 0.76, 1.22; P< 0.00001) and transferrin (SMD: 1.20; 95% CI: 0.70, 1.71; P< 0.00001). As for safety, ROX was associated with higher serious adverse effects (RR: 1.07; 95% CI: 1.01, 1.13; P = 0.01), deep venous thrombosis (DVT) (RR: 3.80; 95% CI: 1.5, 9.64; P = 0.08), and hypertension (HTN) (RR: 1.37; 95% CI: 1.13, 1.65; P = 0.001). Conclusion We concluded that ROX increased Hb level and improved iron utilization parameters in NDD-CKD patients, but ROX was associated with higher serious adverse effects, especially DVT and HTN. Our results support the use of ROX for NDD-CKD patients with anemia. However, higher-quality RCTs are still needed to ensure its safety and risk of thrombosis.

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4 April