Study finds steroid therapy benefits patients with pneumonia

August 10, 2015, McMaster University
A black and white X-ray picture showing a triangular white area on the left side. A circle highlights the area. Credit: James Heilman, MD./Wikipedia

McMaster University research, published online today by the Annals of Internal Medicine, has demonstrated the benefits of corticosteroid therapy for one of the most common serious medical conditions.

"Our study should lead to an important change in treatment for pneumonia," said lead author, Dr. Reed Siemieniuk, a physician and a graduate student at McMaster University. "Corticosteroids are inexpensive and readily available around the world. Millions of patients will benefit from this new evidence."

Lower respiratory infections are the second most common cause of globally. In developed countries, hospitalization for community-acquired pneumonia is common and is often associated with acute requiring and with significant mortality.

The research, led by investigators of McMaster's Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine and including a number of international collaborators, summarized the evidence from 13 randomized trials involving more than 2,000 patients.

Evidence showed patients with community-acquired pneumonia who received corticosteroids were discharged from hospital one day sooner. Results also suggested that corticosteroid treatment reduces the need for mechanical ventilation (or the requirement for a breathing tube) from nine per cent to five per cent of patients; and the likelihood of a life-threatening complication called acute respiratory distress syndrome from eight to two per cent of patients. The results also raised the possibility of a significant reduction in death rates from nine to 10 per cent of patients down to five to six percent.

From left: Reed Siemieniuk and Gordon Guyatt

"Seldom do we see a major advance in treatment of a condition as common as community-acquired pneumonia," said Dr. Gordon Guyatt, the study's senior investigator and a professor of clinical epidemiology and biostatistics at McMaster.

"Corticosteroids over short periods are safe, and we now know that they achieve important benefits in a serious and common medical illness."

Explore further: Treatment for severe community-acquired pneumonia and high inflammatory response

Related Stories

Treatment for severe community-acquired pneumonia and high inflammatory response

February 17, 2015
Among patients with severe community-acquired pneumonia and high initial inflammatory response, the use of the corticosteroid methylprednisolone decreased treatment failure, compared with placebo, according to a study in ...

Inhaled corticosteroids for COPD decrease mortality risk from pneumonia and other causes

May 20, 2015
Treatment of COPD with inhaled corticosteroids (ICS) may decrease the risk of dying from pneumonia and from other causes despite being associated with an increase in the occurrence of pneumonia, according to a new meta-analysis ...

Long-term ICS use reduces pleural effusion in patients with community acquired pneumonia

May 23, 2012
Prior treatment with inhaled corticosteroids in patients with respiratory disorders who develop community acquired pneumonia (CAP) is associated with a lower incidence and severity of parapneumonic effusion, according to ...

Study highlights pneumonia hospitalizations among US adults

July 15, 2015
Viruses, not bacteria, are the most commonly detected respiratory pathogens in U.S. adults hospitalized with pneumonia, according to a New England Journal of Medicine study released today and conducted by researchers at Centers ...

Macrolide resistance doesn't impact pneumonia outcomes

June 12, 2015
(HealthDay)—Patients hospitalized with macrolide-resistant Streptococcus pneumoniae pneumonia are not more severely ill and do not have worse outcomes, according to a study published in the June 1 issue of the American ...

Recommended for you

Researchers seek vaccine for 'traveler's diarrhea'

September 25, 2018
Every year, millions of people have vacations and business trips ruined when they succumb to "traveler's diarrhea" during their journeys. A major cause of traveler's diarrhea is bacteria called Enterotoxigenic E. coli, or ...

Experimental vaccine shows promise in preventing TB

September 25, 2018
(HealthDay)—Tuberculosis remains the most lethal of infectious diseases worldwide, killing more than 1.6 million people a year. But researchers say a new vaccine might prevent half of full-blown illnesses in infected people ...

Many doctors in India miss TB signs: study

September 25, 2018
Many private sector doctors in India miss the signs of tuberculosis and therefore provide patients inadequate treatment, according to a new study published Tuesday involving people hired to act out the symptoms.

New way of determining treatment for staph infections cuts antibiotic use

September 25, 2018
Using a clinical checklist to identify eligible patients, doctors were able to shorten the antibiotic duration for patients with uncomplicated staphylococcal bloodstream infections by nearly two days, Duke Health researchers ...

Breakthrough in designing a better Salmonella vaccine

September 24, 2018
UC Davis researchers announce in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences this week a breakthrough in understanding which cells afford optimal protection against Salmonella infection—a critical step in developing ...

Antifungal agent found to be possible treatment for porphyria

September 24, 2018
A large team of researchers from Spain, France and the U.S. has found that a common antifungal agent might be useful as a treatment for a rare type of porphyria. In their paper published in the journal Science Translational ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.