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A paper on the use of oral steroids for the treatment of acute lower respiratory tract infection by Professors Alastair Hay, Paul Little and Anthony Harnden,, from research funded by the School, has been selected as one of Pulse magazine's top five practice-changing papers of 2017.

‘Avoid steroids’ in LRTI without asthma

GPs should not use oral steroids to treat acute lower respiratory tract infection in adults who do not have asthma or other chronic lung disease, researchers have said.

Just under 200 non-asthmatic adults with acute chest infections but no evidence of pneumonia received 40mg of prednisolone for five days, with the control group of 200 receiving an identical placebo over the same time period.

The researchers found no reduction in the duration of cough or the severity of symptoms between two and four days after treatment in the prednisolone group compared with the placebo group.

Lead author Professor Alastair Hay, a GP and professor of primary care at the University of Bristol Medical School, said: ‘Our study does not support the continued use of steroids as they do not have a clinically useful effect on symptom duration or severity. We would not recommend their use for this group of patients.’

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