Efficacy and safety of corticosteroids for the treatment of community-acquired pneumonia: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials

Link to article at PubMed

J Crit Care. 2023 Dec 20;80:154507. doi: 10.1016/j.jcrc.2023.154507. Online ahead of print.


BACKGROUND: The role of corticosteroids in the treatment of community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) remains uncertain. We conducted an updated meta-analysis to investigate the effectiveness and potential effect modifiers of adjunctive corticosteroids in patients with CAP.

METHODS: The protocol of this meta-analysis was registered with PROSPERO (CRD42022354920). We searched MEDLINE, Embase, the Cochrane Library and trial registers from inception till March 2023 to identify randomized controlled trials (RCTs) investigating corticosteroids in adult patients with CAP. Our primary outcome was the risk of all-cause mortality within 30 days after randomization (if not reported at day 30, we extracted the outcome closest to 30 days). Risk ratios (RR) and mean differences (MDs) were pooled under a random-effects model.

RESULTS: Fifteen RCTs (n = 3252 patients) were included in this review. Corticosteroids reduced the risk of all-cause mortality in CAP patients (RR: 0.69, 95% CI: 0.53-0.89; high certainty). This significant result was restricted to hydrocortisone therapy and patients with severe CAP. Additionally, younger patients demonstrated a greater reduction in mortality. Corticosteroids reduced the incidence of shock and the need for mechanical ventilation (MV), and decreased the length of hospital and ICU stay (moderate certainty).

CONCLUSIONS: Corticosteroids reduce the risk of all-cause mortality, especially in younger patients receiving hydrocortisone, and probably decrease the need for MV, the incidence of shock, and the length of hospital and ICU stay in patients with CAP. Our findings indicate that patients with CAP, especially severe CAP, will benefit from adjunctive corticosteroid therapy.

PMID:38128217 | DOI:10.1016/j.jcrc.2023.154507

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