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Non-Asthmatic Patients Not Benefited By Steroids

Studies show that oral consumption of steroids does not prove helpful in treating respiratory infections non-asthmatic patients.

Non-Asthmatic Patients Not Benefited By Steroids

Steroids fail to prove helpful for treatment of respiratory infections in non-asthmatic people

HIGHLIGHTS

  1. Steroids not effective in reducing symptoms or curing the ailment
  2. Chest infections are one of the most common problems in primary care
  3. Study does not support the continued use of steroids

Recent studies say that oral steroids should not be taken by adults who are not asthmatic or prone to any chronic lung disease for curing acute lower respiratory tract infection or chest pains. This is because the steroids did not prove effective in reducing symptoms or curing the ailment for the patient. In the study, 398 non-asthmatic people with acute chest infections and no signs of pneumonia or urgent need for anti-biotic medication were split into two groups (198+200). The first group with 198 people was given 40mg of oral steroid 'prednisolone' for five days and the other group with 200 people were given a similar placebo for the same period of time.

After five days, there was no reduction in cough, chest infection symptoms or the severity of other symptoms in the first group (198 people) as compared to the other group (200).

Hence, the results clearly suggested that the steroids had no effect in the treatment of non-asthmatic patients for respiratory infections.

"Chest infections are one of the most common problems in primary care and often treated inappropriately with antibiotics. Corticosteroids, like prednisolone, are increasingly being used to try to reduce the symptoms of chest infections, but without sufficient evidence," says Alastair Hay, GP and Professor of Primary Care in the Bristol Medical School at the University of Bristol and the lead author of this study.

To this he added, "Our study does not support the continued use of steroids as they do not have a clinically useful effect on symptom duration or severity. We would not recommend their use for this group of patients."

Co-author of this study, Professor Mike Moore said, "Oral and inhaled steroids are known to be highly effective in treating acute asthma as well as infective flares of other long-term lung conditions but need to be used carefully because of the risk of unwanted side effects."

To conclude, he said, "We chose to test the effect of steroids for chest infections as some of the symptoms of chest infections, such as shortness of breath, wheeze and cough with phlegm, overlap with acute asthma. However, we have conclusively demonstrated they are not effective in this group of patients."

This study was then published in JAMA. 



(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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