PLoS One. 2020 Dec 31;15(12):e0244128. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0244128. eCollection 2020.
PURPOSE: To evaluate the efficacy and safety of methylprednisolone in treating the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) patients.
METHODS: A retrospective cohort study was conducted, and all COVID-19 patients were recruited who were admitted to the Yichang Third People's Hospital from February 1st to March 31st, 2020. One-to-one propensity score matching (PSM) was used for minimizing confounding effects. The primary outcome was hospital mortality, with the secondary outcomes being the time needed for a positive SARS-CoV-2 nucleic acid test to turn negative and the length of hospital stay.
RESULTS: Totaling 367 patients with COVID-19 hospitalized at the Yichang Third People's Hospital were identified, of whom 276 were mild or stable COVID-19, and 67 were serious or critically ill. Among them, 255 patients were treated using methylprednisolone, and 188 did not receive any corticosteroid-related treatment. After PSM, no statistically significant difference was found in the baseline characteristics between the two groups. Regarding the outcomes, there also were no statistically significant difference between the two groups. Patients without the use of methylprednisolone were more quickly to obtain negative results of their nasopharyngeal swab tests of SARS-CoV-2 nucleic acid after treatment, compared to those receiving methylprednisolone.
CONCLUSION: Methylprednisolone could not improve the prognosis of patients with COVID-19, and the efficacy and safety of the use of methylprednisolone in patients with COVID-19 still remain uncertain, thus the use of corticosteroids clinically in patients with COVID-19 should be with cautions.