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Adding corticosteroids improves outcomes in patients with community-acquired pneumonia

For hospitalized adults with community acquired pneumonia (CAP), evidence suggests that adjunctive corticosteroid therapy may reduce mortality and need for mechanical ventilation, while shortening hospital stay. The research is published in Annals of Internal Medicine.

CAP is common and often severe. Researchers reviewed published studies on randomized trials of systemic corticosteroids in hospitalized adults with CAP to determine the impact of adjunctive corticosteroid therapy on mortality, morbidity, and duration of hospitalization. They found that corticosteroids reduced mortality by approximately 3 percent and need for mechanical ventilation by approximately 5 percent, while shortening hospital stay by approximately one day. Benefits were more pronounced in patients with severe illness. Based on their findings, the researchers conclude that clinicians should seriously consider using corticosteroids in hospitalized patients with CAP, especially in the most severe cases.