Current best evidence for clinical care (more info)
Background: There are controversial suggestions about steroid use to treat patients infected with COVID-19. Conclusive evidence regarding the use of steroids to treat COVID-19 is still lacking. This meta-analysis aimed to determine the mortality and severity associated with corticosteroid therapy compared to noncorticosteroid treatment in patients with COVID-19.
Methods: The information was collected from electronic databases: PubMed, CINAHL, the Cochrane Library, clinicaltrials.gov, and Google scholar through January 30, 2021. Risk ratios (RRs) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were performed using random effect models. Endnote citation manager software version X9 for Windows was utilized to collect and organize search outcomes (into relevant and irrelevant studies) and to remove duplicate articles.
Results: Thirty-two studies were included in the meta-analysis, including 14,659 COVID-19 patients. No significant differences in mortality between the steroid and nonsteroid treatment groups (RR = 0.95; 95% CI: 0.80-1.13; p = 0.57). There was no significant reduction in mortality in critically ill COVID-19 patients treated with corticosteroid (RR = 0.89; 95% CI: 0.62-1.27; p = 0.52). Significant differences were observed in severe disease conditions between the steroid and nonsteroid treatment groups (RR = 1.10; 95% CI, 1.03-1.19, p = 0.007).
Conclusion: There was no significant difference in all-cause mortality between the steroid and nonsteroid treatment users' of COVID-19 patients. There was no significant reduction of all-cause mortality in critically ill COVID-19 patients treated with corticosteroids.
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As a practicing hospitalist, it's disheartening to see how many things we do that have no proven benefit.