Does methylprednisolone reduce the mortality risk in hospitalized COVID-19 patients? A meta-analysis of randomized control trials

Syed Shahzad Hasan, Chia Siang Kow, Zia Ul Mustafa, Hamid A Merchant

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objectives: The question remained if mortality benefits with dexamethasone seen in patients with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) also extend to other systemic corticosteroids such as methylprednisolone. This article presents a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) to ascertain if methylprednisolone can be recommended for use in patients with COVID-19 to prevent deaths. Methods: Systematic literature search was performed in PubMed, Scopus, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, and preprint servers until 13 April 2021. The outcome of interest was all-cause mortality. The random-effects model for the meta-analysis was utilized to estimate the pooled odds ratio (OR) at 95% confidence intervals (CI). Results: Five RCTs were included in the meta-analysis. The pooled OR for all-cause mortality was 0.64 (95% CI: 0.29 − 1.43, n = 652) comparing methylprednisolone with the control, indicating no mortality benefits. A similar finding was noted with a sub-group analysis including four trials that used low-dose methylprednisolone. However, the only trial that administered high dose methylprednisolone indicated a statistically significant mortality benefit (OR 0.08, 95% CI: 0.02–0.42). Conclusions: In determining equipotent doses for an acute short-course pulse therapy of corticosteroids, the biological half-life of steroids should also be accounted for besides the potency factor. A short duration (3–5 days) pulse therapy of high-dose methylprednisolone can be a promising alternative to the low-dose dexamethasone therapy in severely ill patients with COVID-19 to prevent deaths.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1049-1055
Number of pages7
JournalExpert Review of Respiratory Medicine
Volume15
Issue number8
Early online date4 May 2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2021

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Does methylprednisolone reduce the mortality risk in hospitalized COVID-19 patients? A meta-analysis of randomized control trials'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this