Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

Open Forum Infect Dis


Background: Corticosteroids use in severe coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) improves survival; however, the optimal dose is not established. We aim to evaluate clinical outcomes in patients with severe COVID-19 receiving high-dose corticosteroids (HDC) versus low-dose corticosteroids (LDC).

Methods: This was a quasi-experimental study conducted at a large, quaternary care center in Michigan. A corticosteroid dose change was implemented in the standardized institutional treatment protocol on November 17, 2020. All patients admitted with severe COVID-19 that received corticosteroids were included. Consecutive patients in the HDC group (September 1 to November 15, 2020) were compared to the LDC group (November 30, 2020 to January 20, 2021). High-dose corticosteroids was defined as 80 mg of methylprednisolone daily in 2 divided doses, and LDC was defined as 32-40 mg of methylprednisolone daily in 2 divided doses. The primary outcome was all-cause 28-day mortality. Secondary outcomes included progression to mechanical ventilation, hospital length of stay (LOS), discharge on supplemental oxygen, and corticosteroid-associated adverse events.

Results: Four-hundred seventy patients were included: 218 (46%) and 252 (54%) in the HDC and LDC groups, respectively. No difference was observed in 28-day mortality (14.5% vs 13.5%, P = .712). This finding remained intact when controlling for additional variables (odds ratio, 0.947; confidence interval, 0.515-1.742; P = .861). Median hospital LOS was 6 and 5 days in the HDC and LDC groups, respectively (P < .001). No differences were noted in any of the other secondary outcomes.

Conclusions: Low-dose methylprednisolone had comparable outcomes including mortality to high-dose methylprednisolone for the treatment of severe COVID-19.

PubMed ID






First Page


Last Page




To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.