Open Forum Infect Dis. 2021 Dec 8;9(1):ofab619. doi: 10.1093/ofid/ofab619. eCollection 2022 Jan.
BACKGROUND: Corticosteroids use in severe coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) improves survival; however, the optimal dose is not established. We aim to evaluate clinical outcomes in patients with severe COVID-19 receiving high-dose corticosteroids (HDC) versus low-dose corticosteroids (LDC).
METHODS: This was a quasi-experimental study conducted at a large, quaternary care center in Michigan. A corticosteroid dose change was implemented in the standardized institutional treatment protocol on November 17, 2020. All patients admitted with severe COVID-19 that received corticosteroids were included. Consecutive patients in the HDC group (September 1 to November 15, 2020) were compared to the LDC group (November 30, 2020 to January 20, 2021). High-dose corticosteroids was defined as 80 mg of methylprednisolone daily in 2 divided doses, and LDC was defined as 32-40 mg of methylprednisolone daily in 2 divided doses. The primary outcome was all-cause 28-day mortality. Secondary outcomes included progression to mechanical ventilation, hospital length of stay (LOS), discharge on supplemental oxygen, and corticosteroid-associated adverse events.
RESULTS: Four-hundred seventy patients were included: 218 (46%) and 252 (54%) in the HDC and LDC groups, respectively. No difference was observed in 28-day mortality (14.5% vs 13.5%, P = .712). This finding remained intact when controlling for additional variables (odds ratio, 0.947; confidence interval, 0.515-1.742; P = .861). Median hospital LOS was 6 and 5 days in the HDC and LDC groups, respectively (P < .001). No differences were noted in any of the other secondary outcomes.
CONCLUSIONS: Low-dose methylprednisolone had comparable outcomes including mortality to high-dose methylprednisolone for the treatment of severe COVID-19.