This site is intended for health professionals only

No pneumonia risk from inhaled steroids

By Christian Duffin

Researchers have challenged the findings of previous studies by arguing that the inhaled corticosteroid budesonide is in fact not linked to an increased risk of pneumonia among asthma patients.

The researchers, from Sweden, Canada and Denmark, conducted a retrospective analysis of 26 double-blind placebo-controlled asthma trials involving budesonide lasting at least three months, and 60 double-blind asthma trials without placebo control, in which patients took either budesonide or fluticasone.

In the first data set, there were 10.0 pneumonia-related adverse events per 1000 patient years in the budesonide group, compared to 19.3 in the placebo group, while for serious adverse events the figures were 2.9 and 2.1 respectively. These differences were not clinically significant, however. Similarly, there was no increased risk associated with budesonide when compared with fluticasone.

Research lead Professor Paul O'Byrne, chair of medicine at McMaster University's faculty of health science, Ontario, said: ‘Several recent studies…suggested that treatment with any inhaled corticosteroid may be associated with an increased risk of pneumonia. But results of this retrospective analysis do not support the concern.'

Am J Respir Crit Care Med 2011; 183: 589–595

No pneumonia risk from inhaled steroids


Visit Pulse Reference for details on 140 symptoms, including easily searchable symptoms and categories, offering you a free platform to check symptoms and receive potential diagnoses during consultations.