Farm Hosp. 2023 Feb 7:S1130-6343(23)00014-4. doi: 10.1016/j.farma.2023.02.001. Online ahead of print.
OBJECTIVE: The COVID-19 pandemic has posed a threat to hospital capacity due to the high number of admissions, which has led to the development of various strategies to release and create new hospital beds. Due to the importance of systemic corticosteroids in this disease, we assessed their efficacy in reducing the length of stay (LOS) in hospitals and compared the effect of 3 different corticosteroids on this outcome. MéTHOD: We conducted a real-world, controlled, retrospective cohort study that analysed data from a hospital database that included 3934 hospitalised patients diagnosed with COVID-19 in a tertiary hospital from April to May 2020. Hospitalised patients who received systemic corticosteroids (CG) were compared with a propensity score control group matched by age, sex and severity of disease who did not receive systemic corticosteroids (NCG). The decision to prescribe CG was at the discretion of the primary medical team.
RESULTS: A total of 199 hospitalized patients in the CG were compared with 199 in the NCG. The LOS was shorter for the CG than for the NCG (median=3 [interquartile range=0-10] vs. 5 [2-8.5]; p=0.005, respectively), showing a 43% greater probability of being hospitalised ≤4 days than >4 days when corticosteroids were used. Moreover, this difference was only noticed in those treated with dexamethasone (76.3% hospitalised ≤4 days vs. 23.7% hospitalised >4 days [p<0.001]). Serum ferritin levels, white blood cells and platelet counts were higher in the CG. No differences in mortality or intensive care unit admission were observed.
CONCLUSIONS: Treatment with systemic corticosteroids is associated with reduced LOS in hospitalised patients diagnosed with COVID-19. This association is significant in those treated with dexamethasone, but no for methylprednisolone and prednisone.