Prolonged, low-dose glucocorticoids (GCs) have shown the highest efficacy among pharmacological and non-pharmacological treatments for COVID-19. Despite the World Health Organization's recommendation against their use at the beginning of the pandemic, GCs at a dose equivalent to dexamethasone 6 mg/day for 10 days are now indicated in all COVID-19 cases who require respiratory support. However, the efficacy of the intervention depends on the timing of initiation, the dose, and other individual factors. Indeed, patients treated with similar GC protocols often experience different outcomes, which do not always correlate with the presence of comorbidities or with the severity of respiratory involvement at baseline. This prompted us to critically review the literature on the rationale, pharmacological principles, and clinical evidence that should guide GC treatment. Based on these data, the best treatment protocol probably involves an initial bolus dose to saturate the glucocorticoid receptors, followed by a continuous infusion to maintain constant plasma levels, and eventually a slow tapering to interruption. Methylprednisolone has shown the highest efficacy among different GC molecules, most likely thanks to its higher ability to penetrate the lung. Decreased tissue sensitivity to glucocorticoids is thought to be the main mechanism accounting for the lower response to the treatment in some individuals. We do not have a readily available test to identify GC resistance; therefore, to address inter-individual variability, future research should aim at investigating clinical, physiological, and laboratory markers to guide a personalized GC treatment approach.

Theory and Practice of Glucocorticoids in COVID-19: Getting to the Heart of the Matter-A Critical Review and Viewpoints

Salton, Francesco;Confalonieri, Paola;Mondini, Lucrezia;Trotta, Liliana;Barbieri, Mariangela;Bozzi, Chiara;Confalonieri, Marco;Ruaro, Barbara
;
Tavano, Stefano;Pozzan, Riccardo
2023-01-01

Abstract

Prolonged, low-dose glucocorticoids (GCs) have shown the highest efficacy among pharmacological and non-pharmacological treatments for COVID-19. Despite the World Health Organization's recommendation against their use at the beginning of the pandemic, GCs at a dose equivalent to dexamethasone 6 mg/day for 10 days are now indicated in all COVID-19 cases who require respiratory support. However, the efficacy of the intervention depends on the timing of initiation, the dose, and other individual factors. Indeed, patients treated with similar GC protocols often experience different outcomes, which do not always correlate with the presence of comorbidities or with the severity of respiratory involvement at baseline. This prompted us to critically review the literature on the rationale, pharmacological principles, and clinical evidence that should guide GC treatment. Based on these data, the best treatment protocol probably involves an initial bolus dose to saturate the glucocorticoid receptors, followed by a continuous infusion to maintain constant plasma levels, and eventually a slow tapering to interruption. Methylprednisolone has shown the highest efficacy among different GC molecules, most likely thanks to its higher ability to penetrate the lung. Decreased tissue sensitivity to glucocorticoids is thought to be the main mechanism accounting for the lower response to the treatment in some individuals. We do not have a readily available test to identify GC resistance; therefore, to address inter-individual variability, future research should aim at investigating clinical, physiological, and laboratory markers to guide a personalized GC treatment approach.
2023
Pubblicato
https://www.mdpi.com/1424-8247/16/7/924
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC10385094/
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11368/3053918
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