Corticosteroid therapy for COVID-19: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials.

Published on May 21, 2021in Medicine1.552
· DOI :10.1097/MD.0000000000025719
Yashwitha Sai Pulakurthi2
Estimated H-index: 2
(Academy of Medical Sciences, United Kingdom),
John M. Pederson2
Estimated H-index: 2
+ 23 AuthorsKirk W. Evanson1
Estimated H-index: 1
BACKGROUND Corticosteroid treatment is an effective and common therapeutic strategy for various inflammatory lung pathologies and may be an effective treatment for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The purpose of this systematic review and meta-analysis of current literature was to investigate the clinical outcomes associated with corticosteroid treatment of COVID-19. METHODS We systematically searched PubMed, medRxiv, Web of Science, and Scopus databases through March 10, 2021 to identify randomized controlled trials (RCTs) that evaluated the effects of corticosteroid therapies for COVID-19 treatment. Outcomes of interest were mortality, need for mechanical ventilation, serious adverse events (SAEs), and superinfection. RESULTS A total of 7737 patients from 8 RCTs were included in the quantitative meta-analysis, of which 2795 (36.1%) patients received corticosteroids plus standard of care (SOC) while 4942 (63.9%) patients received placebo and/or SOC alone. The odds of mortality were significantly lower in patients that received corticosteroids as compared to SOC (odds ratio [OR] = 0.85 [95% CI: 0.76; 0.95], P = .003). Corticosteroid treatment reduced the odds of a need for mechanical ventilation as compared to SOC (OR = 0.76 [95% CI: 0.59; 0.97], P = .030). There was no significant difference between the corticosteroid and SOC groups with regards to SAEs and superinfections. CONCLUSION Corticosteroid treatment can reduce the odds for mortality and the need for mechanical ventilation in severe COVID-19 patients.
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