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Editor's Note
June 2018

Inappropriate Use of Steroids for Acute Respiratory Infection

Author Affiliations
  • 1University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco
  • 2Deputy Editor, JAMA Internal Medicine, Chicago, Illinois
JAMA Intern Med. 2018;178(6):854. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2018.1164

Dvorin and colleagues1 estimate that 11% of adult outpatients with acute respiratory infection across the United States and 23% in the state of Louisiana are treated with systemic steroids.1 These observations are based on administrative data that may be incomplete or inaccurate. However, the data are alarming given that there is no evidence that treatment with steroids is of benefit for acute respiratory infection, and even short courses of steroids can cause harmful adverse effects. We believe additional research is needed to confirm the inappropriate use of steroids in patients with acute respiratory infection, and if confirmed, we look forward to learning about interventions to minimize such use. Because this practice has no known benefit and definite harms, it is classified in our Less Is More series.

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