Steroids: Pneumonia Patients May Benefit From Corticosteroid Therapy, Study Finds
Steroids have been found to aid in the treatment and recovery of pneumonia patients.
By Suzette Gutierrez | Aug 12, 2015 07:25 AM EDT
Corticosteroids can reduce mortality rate for community acquired pneumonia by 3 percent. (Photo : Google Commons)
Steroids may be an effective treatment for community acquired pneumonia and aid in faster recovery, a new study says. Researchers from McMaster University sought to determine the effect of corticosteroid therapy on pneumonia patients, with focus on the mortality, morbidity and length of hospital stay. They found that corticosteroid treatment decreases the patients' mortality rate and length of hospital stay, and it also lessens the need for mechanical ventilation, according to Eureka Alert http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2015-08/mu-sfs080615.php.
"Our study should lead to an important change in treatment for pneumonia," said Dr. Reed Siemieniuk, a physician at McMaster University and lead author of the study, according to the press release.
The researchers analyzed the results from 13 clinical trials. The study involved more than 2,000 patients, 60 percent of whom are male, with an average age of 60.
The study results showed that when systemic corticosteroid therapy was given to patients, the mortality rate went down by 3 percent. The need for a mechanical ventilator was reduced by 5 percent, while hospital stay was reduced by one day.
"Seldom do we see a major advance in treatment of a condition as common as community-acquired pneumonia," said Dr. Gordon Guyatt, professor of clinical epidemiology and biostatistics at McMaster, according to Eureka Alert.
However, Dr. Bruce Polsky, chairman of the department of medicine at Winthrop University Hospital, emphasized the need for more studies. He said that "with such modest - though measurable - effects of treatment," a larger trial is needed to confirm the new findings and "perhaps justify a change in the standard of care," HealthDay reports http://consumer.healthday.com/infectious-disease-information-21/misc-infections-news-411/steroids-may-help-speed-pneumonia-recovery-study-finds-702130.html.
Polsky also pointed out one limitation of the study results.
"Although this is potentially important data, most cases of pneumonia [acquired outside of the hospital] are not so severely ill and are treated in the outpatient setting," he said, in which case the data will not apply.
Dr. Len Horovitz, pulmonary specialist at Lenox Hill Hospital, said that corticosteroids may help address the inflammation resulting from pneumonia.
"They (corticosteroids) will also benefit patients with associated pulmonary conditions like COPD and asthma," Horovitz said, adding that caution should be taken for diabetic and hypertensive patients, HealthDay reports.
The study was published on Aug. 11 in the Annals of Internal Medicine http://annals.org/article.aspx?articleid=2424872.
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