Methylprednisolone or dexamethasone? How should we choose to respond to COVID-19?: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials

Link to article at PubMed

Medicine (Baltimore). 2023 Sep 8;102(36):e34738. doi: 10.1097/MD.0000000000034738.


BACKGROUND: Methylprednisolone (MP) and dexamethasone (DXM) are commonly prescribed hormone drugs for treating coronavirus pandemic disease 2019 (COVID-19) patients, but conflicting results from previous studies and meta-analyses on their efficacy and safety necessitate further investigation. Therefore, in this study, we conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials to enhance the level of evidence and compare the efficacy and safety of MP and DXM in COVID-19 patients.

METHODS: We conducted a comprehensive search of PubMed, Web of Science, Embase, and Cochrane Library databases to retrieve randomized clinical trials. Our primary outcome measure was all-cause mortality, with secondary outcomes including admission to the intensive care unit, length of hospital stay, mechanical ventilation, and adverse events.

RESULTS: This study analyzed six randomized controlled trials involving 1403 patients (MP group: 704; DXM group: 699). The results of the analysis showed no significant differences in mortality rates, admission to intensive care units, hospitalization time, mechanical ventilation, or adverse events between the MP and DXM groups (P > .05). However, a significant difference was observed in the incidence of hyperglycemia between these 2 groups (RR = 1.78, 95% CI [1.09, 2.89], P = .02, I2 = 78%).

CONCLUSION: The results of this meta-analysis showed that there was no difference in mortality, ICU admission rate, hospital stay, mechanical ventilation, or adverse events between MP and DXM in the treatment of COVID-19. The incidence of hyperglycemia with methylprednisolone was higher than that with dexamethasone.

PMID:37682199 | DOI:10.1097/MD.0000000000034738

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