Introduction: Since the onset of the pandemic, prescribing antimicrobials has become a common practice to treat patients infected with COVID-19. Areas covered: A systematic literature search was performed in the electronic databases MEDLINE, CINAHL, WHO COVID-19 database, including EMBASE, Scopus, WHO-COVID, LILACS, and Google Scholar to identify original articles published up to 31 July 2021. A random-effects model was used to estimate the pooled prevalence or proportion of antimicrobial consumption among COVID-19 patients. Expert opinion: We identified 43 original articles, 33 studies from high-income countries, six from upper-middle-income countries, and four from lower-middle-income countries. Most of the studies presented data from hospital or secondary health-care settings (n = 34). Included studies measured antimicrobial consumption as Daily Defined Doses (DDD) or day of therapy (DOT) or percentage. A total of 19 studies measured antimicrobial consumption as DDDs or DOT. Meta-analysis revealed an overall high antimicrobial consumption of 68% (95% CI: 60% to 75%). The subgroup analysis found a lower consumption in high-income countries (58%, 95% CI: 48% to 67%), compared with lower and middle-income countries (89%, 95% CI: 82% to 94%). High antimicrobial consumption found in COVID-19 patients demands implementation of appropriate antimicrobial stewardship interventions.