Background: Our aim was to evaluate the benefits and harms of adjunctive corticosteroids in adults hospitalized with community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) using individual patient data from randomized, placebo-controlled trials and to explore subgroup differences.
Methods: We systematically searched Medline, Embase, Cochrane Central, and trial registers (all through July 2017). Data from 1506 individual patients in 6 trials were analyzed using uniform outcome definitions. We investigated prespecified effect modifiers using multivariable hierarchical regression, adjusting for pneumonia severity, age, and clustering effects.
Results: Within 30 days of randomization, 37 of 748 patients (5.0%) assigned to corticosteroids and 45 of 758 patients (5.9%) assigned to placebo died (adjusted odds ratio [aOR], 0.75; 95% confidence interval [CI], .46 to 1.21; P = .24). Time to clinical stability and length of hospital stay were reduced by approximately 1 day with corticosteroids (-1.03 days; 95% CI, -1.62 to -.43; P = .001 and -1.15 days; 95% CI, -1.75 to -.55; P < .001, respectively). More patients with corticosteroids had hyperglycemia (160 [22.1%] vs 88 [12.0%]; aOR, 2.15; 95% CI, 1.60 to 2.90; P < .001) and CAP-related rehospitalization (33 [5.0%] vs 18 [2.7%]; aOR, 1.85; 95% CI, 1.03 to 3.32; P = .04). We did not find significant effect modification by CAP severity or degree of inflammation.
Conclusions: Adjunct corticosteroids for patients hospitalized with CAP reduce time to clinical stability and length of hospital stay by approximately 1 day without a significant effect on overall mortality but with an increased risk for CAP-related rehospitalization and hyperglycemia.
Keywords: community-acquired pneumonia; corticosteroids; individual patient data metaanalysis; randomized clinical trials.
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