Outcome after traumatic brain injury (TBI) varies largely and degree of immune activation is an important determinant factor. This meta-analysis evaluates the efficacy of drugs with anti-inflammatory properties in improving neurological and functional outcome. The systematic search following PRISMA guidelines resulted in 15 randomized placebo-controlled trials (3734 patients), evaluating progesterone, erythropoietin and cyclosporine. The meta-analysis (15 studies) showed that TBI patients receiving a drug with anti-inflammatory effects had a higher chance of a favorable outcome compared to those receiving placebo (RR = 1.15; 95% CI 1.01-1.32, p = 0.041). However, publication bias was indicated together with heterogeneity (I-2 = 76.59%). Stratified analysis showed that positive effects were mainly observed in patients receiving this treatment within 8 h after injury. Subanalyses by drug type showed efficacy for progesterone (8 studies, RR 1.22; 95% CI 1.01-1.47, p = 0.040), again heterogeneity was high (I-2 = 62.92%) and publication bias could not be ruled out. The positive effect of progesterone covaried with younger age and was mainly observed when administered intramuscularly and not intravenously. Erythropoietin (4 studies, RR 1.20; p = 0.110; I-2 = 76.59%) and cyclosporine (3 studies, RR 0.75; p = 0.189, I-2 = 0%) did not show favorable significant effects. While negative findings for erythropoietin may reflect insufficient power, cyclosporine did not show better outcome at all. Current results do not allow firm conclusions on the efficacy of drugs with anti-inflammatory properties in TBI patients. Included trials showed heterogeneity in methodological and sample parameters. At present, only progesterone showed positive results and early administration via intramuscular administration may be most effective, especially in young people. The anti-inflammatory component of progesterone is relatively weak and other mechanisms than mitigating overall immune response may be more important.