The American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) has issued a statement regarding the use of corticosteroids for patients with allergies and asthma.
Concerns over whether patients should continue routine medications, including inhaled and intranasal corticosteroids during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, prompted the release of the new guidance.
According to the ACAAI:
“There is no data that continuing these allergy and asthma medications will have any effect on increasing your risk of getting the COVID-19 infection or if you get the infection, lead to a worse outcome. It is important to control your allergy and asthma symptoms as they may lead to misdiagnosis of COVID-19 as there are some overlap of symptoms.”
The confusion over corticosteroid use stems from various sources, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) reporting that systemic corticosteroids should not be routinely given to treat viral pneumonia or acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) associated with COVID-19, as these agents have not been shown to be beneficial and may even be harmful to patients. This data, however, was specific to the use of systemic corticosteroids in hospitalized patients being treated for viral infections.
Recommendations presented during a webinar for allergists by Niraj Patel MD, MS, Division Chief-Pediatric Infectious Disease & Immunology at Levine Children’s Hospital in Charlotte, NC, state that routine asthma medications, including inhaled corticosteroids, should be continued in order to prevent or reduce exacerbations; asthma exacerbations may lead patients to seek treatment in an emergency care setting that may put them at increased risk of being exposed to COVID-19. In addition, patients prescribed biologic therapy should continue with treatment and, when possible, oral corticosteroids should be avoided.
For more information visit acaai.org.