Glucocorticoid Use May Up Risk of This Infection

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The risk rose along with the dosage
The risk rose along with the dosage

(HealthDay News) — Patients taking systemic glucocorticoids are at higher risk for community-acquired Staphylococcus aureus bacteremia (CA-SAB), according to research published online June 8 in Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

Jesper Smit, M.D., of Aarhus University Hospital in Denmark, and colleagues reviewed the medical records of 29,017 patients in Denmark and found that those who used systemic glucocorticoids were 2.5 times more likely than non-users to develop CA-SAB (adjusted odds ratio, 2.48).

The researchers also found that CA-SAB risk rose along with the dose of the medicines given. Compared to non-users, those with a 90-day cumulative corticosteroid dose less than or equal to 150 mg had 2.42 times higher risk, but the risk was as high as 6.25 times greater for patients with a cumulative dose of more than 1,000 mg. Among patients with connective tissue disease or chronic lung disease, the risk of CA-SAB was highest in long-term glucocorticoid users. Among cancer patients, the risk was highest for new users of the drugs.

The findings are "a reminder for clinicians to weigh carefully the elevated risk against the potential beneficial effect of glucocorticoid therapy," Smit said in a Mayo news release.

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