What role for systemic corticosteroids in treating COPD exacerbations?

K. L. Rice, D. E. Niewoehner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The supposition suggested by numerous smaller trials that systemic corticosteroids can reduce exacerbations of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) has been confirmed in the large Systemic Corticosteroids in Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Exacerbation trial. Moreover, treatment is as effective with a short course of therapy (2 weeks) as with a long course (8 weeks). Patients who require hospitalization for COPD should receive intravenous methylprednisolone, 250 to 500 mg/d for 2 to 3 days. Ambulatory patients with worsening baseline dyspnea are candidates for oral prednisone, 40 to 60 mg/d for 7 to 10 days. Monitor blood glucose levels in those receiving systemic corticosteroids. Risk of infection is small in patients given corticosteroid therapy for COPD, particularly short courses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)12-19
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Critical Illness
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2001


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