Evaluation of berberine pellet effect on clinical recovery time in COVID-19 outpatients: A pilot clinical trial

Document Type : Original Research Article


1 School of Pharmacy, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran

2 Pharmaceutical Research Center, Pharmaceutical Technology Institute, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran

3 Infection Control & Hand Hygiene Research Center, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran

4 Department of Clinical Pharmacy, School of Pharmacy, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran

5 Department of Pharmacodynamics and Toxicology, School of Pharmacy, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran


Objective: Severe disease onset of COVID-19 may result in alveolar injury and respiratory failure. Apoptosis and inflammation are the main causes of respiratory distress syndrome. Berberine is used in medicine as an analgesic, anti-asthmatic, anti-inflammatory, and antiviral. In the current investigation, the effect of berberine on COVID-19 outpatients was studied.
Materials and Methods: The present clinical trial was performed on 40 outpatients who were randomly assigned to berberine (300 mg, TID, 2 weeks) (n=19) or placebo groups (n=21). Both groups received standard therapy and they were monitored on days 3, 7, and 14 after the beginning of the therapy for clinical symptoms’ improvement, quantitative CRP, lymphopenia, CBC, and SpO2. The severity and frequency of these symptoms and the level of the parameters were statistically compared between the two groups.
Results: On days (0, 3, 7, and 14, there was no significant difference between the berberine and placebo groups in the improvement of clinical symptoms (cough, shortness of breath, nausea, loss of smell and taste, diarrhea, dizziness, sore throat, stomachache, body aches, and body temperature), quantitative CRP, lymphopenia, WBC, neutrophils, platelets, or SpO2.
Conclusion: Berberine (300 mg, TID, two weeks) is ineffective in treating COVID-19. More research with a larger sample size is needed to investigate different berberine dosages in other pharmaceutical formulations.


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