What is the increased risk for pneumonia in immunocompromised patients on long-term steroid therapy?

Updated: Jan 07, 2019
  • Author: Julie B Zhao, MD; Chief Editor: Barry E Brenner, MD, PhD, FACEP  more...
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Answer

Answer

Patients taking steroids long-term are at higher risk for pulmonary infections. [44]

Steroids alter phagocytic function of alveolar macrophages, delay the mobilization of immune cells, and affect antigen presentation. 

The dose and duration of use are predictive of increased risk of pneumonia. Low-dose and short-term use carry minimal additional risk of pneumonia, while dosages more than 10 mg/d or cumulatively 700 mg of prednisone increase patients' risk of pulmonary infection. [45]


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