McMaster University

McMaster University

Corticosteroid Therapy for Patients With Community-Acquired Pneumonia

We are pleased to share with you a recent publication in the Annals of Internal Medicine. This publication is entitled "Corticosteroid Therapy for Patients Hospitalized With Community-Acquired Pneumonia: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis."

Find the abstract below and click here to access the full-version of the article.

Siemieniuk RA, Meade MO, Alonso-Coello P, Briel M, Evaniew N, Prasad M, et al. Corticosteroid Therapy for Patients Hospitalized With Community-Acquired Pneumonia: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. Ann Intern Med. [Epub ahead of print 11 August 2015] doi:10.7326/M15-0715


Background: Community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) is common and often severe.

Purpose: To examine the effect of adjunctive corticosteroid therapy on mortality, morbidity, and duration of hospitalization in patients with CAP.

Data Sources: MEDLINE, EMBASE, and the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials through 24 May 2015.

Study Selection: Randomized trials of systemic corticosteroids in hospitalized adults with CAP.

Data Extraction: Two reviewers independently extracted study data and assessed risk of bias. Quality of evidence was assessed with the Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation system by consensus among the authors.

Data Synthesis: The median age was typically in the 60s, and approximately 60% of patients were male. Adjunctive corticosteroids were associated with possible reductions in all-cause mortality (12 trials; 1974 patients; risk ratio [RR], 0.67 [95% CI, 0.45 to 1.01]; risk difference [RD], 2.8%; moderate certainty), need for mechanical ventilation (5 trials; 1060 patients; RR, 0.45 [CI, 0.26 to 0.79]; RD, 5.0%; moderate certainty), and the acute respiratory distress syndrome (4 trials; 945 patients; RR, 0.24 [CI, 0.10 to 0.56]; RD, 6.2%; moderate certainty). They also decreased time to clinical stability (5 trials; 1180 patients; mean difference, −1.22 days [CI, −2.08 to −0.35 days]; high certainty) and duration of hospitalization (6 trials; 1499 patients; mean difference, −1.00 day [CI, −1.79 to −0.21 days]; high certainty). Adjunctive corticosteroids increased frequency of hyperglycemia requiring treatment (6 trials; 1534 patients; RR, 1.49 [CI, 1.01 to 2.19]; RD, 3.5%; high certainty) but did not increase frequency of gastrointestinal hemorrhage.

Limitations: There were few events and trials for many outcomes. Trials often excluded patients at high risk for adverse events.

Conclusion: For hospitalized adults with CAP, systemic corticosteroid therapy may reduce mortality by approximately 3%, need for mechanical ventilation by approximately 5%, and hospital stay by approximately 1 day.

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