COVID-19 – Oxford CEBM Evidence Service

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The Oxford University Centre for Evidence Based Medicine has launched a new webpage to help provide answers to some of the many questions about COVID-19 – including many that are relevant to medicines use & prescribing in primary care. The CEBM team have committed their “skills and expertise in evidence synthesis and dissemination to the effort against the current COVID-19 pandemic.”

One of the first questions to be addressed is whether it is OK for people with asthma to continue to use their inhaled steroids. The answer is YES – continued and regular use of inhaled steroids (and good asthma control) is expected to reduce the risk of COVID-19 triggering an asthma attack (quote):

Inhaled corticosteroids, when taken as prescribed, would reduce the risk of an asthma attack being triggered by a respiratory virus such as COVID-19.

There is no evidence of a relationship between the use of inhaled corticosteroids and COVID-19 infection at present. Inhaled corticosteroids are generally considered a safe and frontline treatment for controlling asthma symptoms. Evidence from a 2013 systematic review of seven randomized controlled trials found that discontinuing inhaled corticosteroids in people with stable asthma more than doubled the risk of asthma exacerbation (RR 2.35, 95% CI 1.88 to 2.92, mean follow-up 27 weeks).