(HealthDay News) — For hospitalized adults with community-acquired pneumonia (CAP), systemic corticosteroid therapy is associated with improved outcomes, according to a review published online August 11 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Reed A.C. Siemieniuk, MD, from McMaster University in Hamilton, Canada, and colleagues conducted a review to examine the effect of adjunctive corticosteroid therapy on mortality, morbidity, and duration of hospitalization in patients with CAP. Patients had a median age in the 60s and about 60% were male.

The researchers observed a correlation between adjunctive corticosteroids and possible reductions in all-cause mortality (risk difference, 2.8%); need for mechanical ventilation (risk difference, 5.0%); and acute respiratory distress syndrome (risk difference, 6.2%). There was also a decrease seen in time to clinical stability (mean difference, −1.22 days) and duration of hospitalization (mean difference, −1.00 days) with corticosteroids. The frequency of hyperglycemia requiring treatment was increased with adjunctive corticosteroids (risk difference, 3.5%), but there was no increase in the frequency of gastrointestinal hemorrhage.

“For hospitalized adults with CAP, systemic corticosteroid therapy may reduce mortality by approximately 3%, need for mechanical ventilation by approximately 5%, and hospital stay by approximately one day,” the authors write.

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