Steroid nasal sprays reduce poor COVID outcomes, study finds


Regular use of steroid-based nasal sprays has provided COVID-19 patients with protection against virus-related hospitalizations, intensive care admissions and death, the Cleveland Clinic said on Tuesday. However, the results do not suggest the sprays as a COVID-19 treatment and more results are needed to confirm the results, the health system said.

The study, funded by the National Institutes of Health and published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, looked at more than 70,000 COVID-19 patients aged 18 and older in the health system of the Cleveland Clinic of April 2020 to March 2021. Of the group, 17.5% were hospitalized, 4.1% were admitted to intensive care and 2.6% died in hospital. Just over 14% of patients were taking a steroid nasal spray, also known as intranasal corticosteroids (INCS), before the infection.


The researchers excluded patients who received prescriptions from INCS before 2018, as well as pregnant women, those with missing hospitalization data and others.

According to a release from the Cleveland Clinic.

“Although the study results encourage patients who use intranasal corticosteroids chronically to continue to do so as needed, this does not suggest that intranasal corticosteroids should be used to treat or prevent COVID-19 in any way. whatever, “the statement said. “The theory behind the study, which was based on reports that the intranasal corticosteroid in vitro (in the lab) decreased the ACE2 protein receptor, allowing the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19 to enter cells. cells and spread disease. “

Steroid nasal sprays are meant to relieve irritation, allergies, and stuffy nose and can be prescribed or bought over the counter.

“This study shows the importance of the nose in COVID-19 infection,” Cleveland Clinic pulmonologist Dr. Joe Zein said in a statement. “The nose, in this case, is the gateway to our body, allowing the virus to enter and replicate inside. The use of intranasal corticosteroids can help disrupt this gateway.”

Dr Ronald Strauss, allergist-immunologist and director of the Cleveland Allergy and Asthma Center, added: “Our results are particularly important, as the decrease in COVID-19 hospitalizations, intensive care admissions and mortality could alleviate the pressure on health systems with limited resources. around the world, especially in developing countries where access to vaccines is limited and where SARS-CoV-2 mutations have emerged. “

The healthcare system noted that future studies are needed to confirm the results, and the study’s authors specifically called for randomized controlled trials to determine whether steroid nasal sprays reduced the risk of serious COVID-related outcomes.

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