When patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) need to control flare-ups of their disease, doctors have been prescribing inhaled corticosteroids for relief, but a new study reveals that they may be increasing patients' risk for developing pneumonia.
Researchers from McGill University found a 70% increased risk of hospitalization for pneumonia among patients using inhaled steroids and a 53% increased risk of death from pneumonia within 30 days of initial hospitalization. These risks were reduced once medications were stopped.
Pneumonia remains the 3rd leading cause for hospitalization, and inhaled corticosteroid use among COPD patients increased from 13.2% to 41.4% from 1987 to 1995. The complete study article appears in the July 2007 issue of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.