Steroids Beneficial As Adjunctive Treatment for Community-Acquired Pneumonia


Am Fam Physician. 2016 Feb 1;93(3):227.

Clinical Question

Should steroids be used as adjunctive therapy for patients with community-acquired pneumonia (CAP)?

Bottom Line

Moderate-quality to high-quality evidence suggests that steroids, when added to antibiotics and usual care, can improve outcomes in the treatment of CAP. Benefits include reduced hospital length of stay, decreased time to clinical stability, and lower rates of mechanical ventilation and acute respiratory distress syndrome. Steroids may also play a role in preventing deaths, especially in patients with severe CAP; however, the certainty of this evidence is not as clear. Given varying treatment regimens used in the individual studies, the appropriate steroid formulation, dosage, and duration of steroids cannot be elucidated from the current set of data. (Level of Evidence = 1a)


These authors searched Medline, Embase, and the Cochrane Register to find

POEMs (patient-oriented evidence that matters) are provided by EssentialEvidence Plus, a point-of-care clinical decision support system published by Wiley-Blackwell. For more information, please see http://www.essentialevidenceplus.com. Copyright Wiley-Blackwell. Used with permission.

For definitions of levels of evidence used in POEMs, see http://www.essentialevidenceplus.com/product/ebm_loe.cfm?show=oxford.

To subscribe to a free podcast of these and other POEMs that appear in AFP,search in iTunes for “POEM of the Week” or go to http://goo.gl/3niWXb.

This series is coordinated by Sumi Sexton, MD, Associate Deputy Editor.

A collection of POEMs published in AFP is available at http://www.aafp.org/afp/poems.


Want to use this article elsewhere? Get Permissions

CME Quiz

More in AFP

Editor's Collections

Related Content

More in Pubmed


Feb 15, 2017

Access the latest issue of American Family Physician

Read the Issue

Email Alerts

Don't miss a single issue. Sign up for the free AFP email table of contents.

Sign Up Now

Navigate this Article