Tuesday November 19, 2019

Use of Oral Steroids Increases Risk of Infection in People with Inflammation

More than 27 per cent of patients were admitted to hospital and seven per cent died within a week of diagnosis of infection, said the study

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Beware, Gyms, Health Clubs
In an alarming trend, gymnasiums and health clubs across the country are providing youngsters with steroids. Pixabay

Researchers have found that oral steroid use in patients with inflammatory diseases significantly increases the risk of infection and the risk increases with higher doses.

The study, published in the journal CMAJ, picked over 40,000 adult patients with polymyalgia rheumatica or giant cell arteritis in England.

The researchers found higher risks of infection when patients were taking oral steroids than when they were not taking them.

“In periods with prescribed medication, patients’ risk was 50 per cent higher than when it was not prescribed, increases in risk ranged from 48 per for fungal to 70 per cent for bacterial infections,” said Mar Pujades-Rodriguez, from the University of Leeds in the UK.

heart-rate, inflammation
Higher levels of inflammation may in turn increase risk for heart diseases as well. (IANS)

Steroids included prednisolone, prednisone, hydrocortisone and cortisone. The risk of infection increased with higher doses and was elevated even with low daily doses of less than 5 mg of prednisolone.

According to the findings, more than half of the patients (22,234 or 56 per cent) had infections, with the most common being lower respiratory tract infections (27 per cent), conjunctivitis (nine per cent) and shingles (seven per cent).

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More than 27 per cent of patients were admitted to hospital and seven per cent died within a week of diagnosis of infection, said the study.

Patients and clinicians should be educated about the risk of infection, need for symptom identification, prompt treatment, timely vaccination and documentation of history of chronic infection, researchers said. (IANS)

Next Story

Vaccine Shows Promise for Preventing Latent Tuberculosis Infection from Turning into Active Disease

The lung disease kills more than a million people a year, mostly in poor countries, and about one-third of the world's people harbor

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Vaccine, Tuberculosis, Infection
A QuantiFERON-TB blood test. Data published in The Lancet Respiratory Medicine journal shows screening with QuantiFERON. VOA

An experimental vaccine proved 50% effective at preventing latent tuberculosis infection from turning into active disease in a three-year study of adults in Africa.

Doctors were encouraged because protection declined only a little after two years, and even a partially effective vaccine would be a big help against TB. The lung disease kills more than a million people a year, mostly in poor countries, and about one-third of the world’s people harbor the bacteria that cause it.

Results were reported Tuesday at a conference in India, the country hardest hit by TB, and published by the New England Journal of Medicine.

There is a TB vaccine now, but it’s given only to very young children and partly prevents severe complications. Researchers have been seeking a vaccine that also works in adults, to curb spread of the disease.

Vaccine, Tuberculosis, Infection
Doctors were encouraged because protection declined only a little after two years, and even a partially effective vaccine would be a big help against TB. Pixabay

GlaxoSmithKline’s experimental vaccine was tested in nearly 3,600 adults in Kenya, South Africa and Zambia who were infected with TB but who did not also have HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.

Half were given two doses of vaccine a month apart and the rest got dummy shots. Thirteen people in the vaccine group and 26 in the other group developed active TB.

The new results show that “the vaccine is holding up” over time, and mark an important step toward having a prevention tool that’s been sought for 100 years, said Dr. Paula Fujiwara, scientific director of the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease, the group hosting the conference in Hyderabad, India.

Plans are underway for another, definitive study, which will take at least several more years, she said.

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After two-year results were announced last year, the World Health Organization called the vaccine a major breakthrough and has been holding meetings to discuss how to further its development. (VOA)