Image of pills.Steroid use does not affect mortality rates in patients with community-acquired pneumonia, but it does reduce the hospital stay of survivors by an average of 1.21 days when administered in conjunction with antibiotics and supportive care, according to an analysis performed by the Mayo Clinic.

Investigators from the Mayo Clinic reviewed eight clinical trials conducted from 2000 to 2011 involving more than 1,100 patients.

“Given that the average hospital stay for community-acquired pneumonia can range from nine to 23 days, the prospect of speeding recovery, even by a day or two, is helpful,” said M. Rizwan Sohail, MD, a Mayo infectious disease specialist and co-author for the analysis.

Researchers cautioned that the data was not strong enough to recommend treating pneumonia patients with steroids, and that additional study is required. Vaccination remains the most powerful tool in infection prevention, they wrote.