Impact of systemic corticosteroids on hospitalized patients with COVID-19: January 2021 Meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials

Category Systematic review
Year 2021
BACKGROUND: The COVID-19 pandemic has stimulated worldwide investigation into a myriad of potential therapeutic agents, including corticosteroids. The first RCT reporting results on the impact of systemic corticosteroids on COVID-19 in a peer reviewed journal was the RECOVERY trial published in July, 2020. The RECOVERY trial showed a reduced risk of 28-day mortality in patients who received oral or intravenous dexamethasone for 10 days. This study is a meta-analysis of peer reviewed RCTs aims to estimate the association of systemic corticosteroid therapy compared to the usual care or placebo on all-cause mortality in hospitalized patients with COVID-19. Software based tools to accelerate the analysis process. METHODS: Meta-analysis of peer reviewed RCTs comparing systemic corticosteroids to usual care or placebo. RESULTS: Five English language RCTs were identified, including data from 7645 hospitalized patients worldwide using systemic dexamethasone, hydrocortisone and methylprednisolone in COVID-19 positive patients. Three RCTs were discontinued when preliminary results from the RECOVERY trial became available. Meta-analysis of all identified RCTs showed no difference in survival in patients who received systemic corticosteroid therapy compared to usual care or placebo (Odds ratio 0.82, 95% CI 0.64-1.05, p = 0.09). Subgroup analysis from the 1967 critically ill patients in the identified RCTs showed improved survival in patients who received systemic corticosteroid therapy (Odds ratio 0.67, 95% CI 0.51-0.87, p = 0.01). CONCLUSIONS: This meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials published in peer-reviewed literature by January 1, 2021 showed reduced mortality in critically ill patients but not all hospitalized patients with COVID-19 who received systemic corticosteroids. The early termination of three of the included RCTs because of the preliminary results of the RECOVERY trial is likely to have dramatically influenced the results of this meta-analysis. Further research is needed to clarify the role of systemic corticosteroid therapy in the management of COVID-19.
Epistemonikos ID: 2da1c1750675e51eb554839e46f34e64cd2c6a19
First added on: Feb 05, 2021