Regular Inhaled Corticosteroids Use May Protect Against Severe COVID-19 Outcome in COPD.

Labor M, Kirui BK, Nyberg F, Vanfleteren LEGW

Int J Chron Obstruct Pulmon Dis 18 (-) 1701-1712 [2023-08-07; online 2023-08-07]

Population-based studies provide conflicting evidence about how inhaled corticosteroids (ICS) impact COVID-19 outcomes among COPD patients. We investigated whether regular ICS exposure affects risk, severity, or survival in SARS-CoV-2 infection, using a nationwide linked Swedish population register database. During January-December 2020, we studied two defined Swedish adult populations - Whole population [≥40 years] (N = 5243479), and COPD subpopulation [≥40 years] (N = 133372), in three study cohorts, respectively: 1. Overall cohort (index date 1 Jan 2020), 2. COVID-19 diagnosed sub-cohort (index date = diagnosis date), and 3. COVID-19 hospitalized sub-cohort (index date = admission date). Regular exposure was defined as ≥3 ICS prescriptions in the year before index. Hazard ratios (HRs) for outcomes (COVID-19 onset, hospitalization, ICU admission, or death) related to ICS exposure were estimated using Cox regression. Confounding was controlled by propensity score methods applying Average Treatment effect in the Treated (ATT) weighting. Regular ICS use was associated with only very slightly increased onset of COVID-19, hospitalization, ICU admission, and death in the overall whole population cohort and in the overall COPD subpopulation cohort, except for ICU admission (marginally non-significant HRs, up to 1.13); and no clear increase in the diagnosed sub-cohorts. However, in the COVID-19 hospitalized COPD sub-cohort, ICS therapy showed reduced risks against progression to ICU admission and death, significant for death (HR 0.82 95% CI [0.67-0.99]). For COPD patients, ICS therapy offers some protection against progression to ICU admission and death among COVID-19 hospitalized patients. Our findings alleviate concerns about increased risks of COVID-19 by ICS treatment and provide evidence supporting the continuation of ICS therapy for COPD patients.

Category: Public Health

Funder: Hjärt-Lungfonden

Funder: VR

Topics: Register-based research

PubMed 37576828

DOI 10.2147/COPD.S404913

Crossref 10.2147/COPD.S404913

pmc: PMC10421743
pii: 404913

Publications 9.5.0