May 13, 2021

Background Information: Over one year into the pandemic many therapies to treat COVID-19 have targeted innumerable aspects of the virus. Most recently, the use of corticosteroids to treat the virus’ excessive inflammatory effects has become the front and center of therapy in patients requiring oxygen therapy.1 The RECOVERY trial showed a mortality benefit when using Dexamethasone in severe cases where oxygen therapy or mechanical ventilation was required.2 Interestingly, compared to other corticosteroids, high doses of Methylprednisolone are actually the preferred agent for anti-inflammation in pulmonary diseases as it achieves a more direct effect on cell membrane associated proteins.3 The authors of the following paper sought to investigate the effectiveness of methylprednisolone compared to Dexamethasone in hypoxemic ICU patients with COVID-19.

May 3, 2021

Background: In 2019 the World Health Organization listed “Antimicrobial Resistance” as a top 10 threat to global health. This was echoed in a 2021 document. [WHO 2019, WHO 2021] The classic medical teaching regarding antimicrobial therapy pushed for longer treatment courses. There was a commonly held myth that premature cessation or prescription of a short course of antibiotics could select for more virulent pathogens thereby re-exacerbating and intensifying illness as well as hastening the development of antibiotic resistance. However, microbial stewardship is of paramount importance and we should embrace shorter courses of antibiotics when clinically appropriate.

April 8, 2021

Background: Since the publication of the before and after Marik trial [1] published in 2016, there have been six randomized clinical trials trying to answer the question of the utility of the metabolic cocktail (Vitamin C, thiamine, and hydrocortisone) in septic shock (See table below). Although, each was of various methodological rigor only one had a positive primary outcome (i.e. ORANGES). It is important to note that the primary outcome of the ORANGES trial was changed after full data collection (and likely analysis) was complete (See the REBEL EM analysis HERE). We now have our 7th RCT on this topic.

April 5, 2021

Background Information:

The use of corticosteroids in patients with pneumonia secondary to COVID-19 has been a controversially hot topic, particularly early on in the pandemic. Prior evidence seen in Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome have led some to argue against their use due to delayed viral clearance.1 More recent evidence related to SARS-Cov-2 has specifically shown reduced mortality and reduced need for mechanical ventilation with corticosteroids.2-4 More recently, the RECOVERY Trial showed an improvement in 28-day mortality among patients on oxygen therapy who received Dexamethasone.5 Little information exists in the literature about patients with moderate to severe disease who do not warrant ICU level of care but require hospital admission due to the extent of their illness. The authors of this study designed and conducted a pragmatic, partially randomized control trial to evaluate the possible benefit of methylprednisolone in hospitalized patients with moderate to severe COVID-19 pneumonia.

March 30, 2021

Background: COVID-19 vaccination is ramping up both in the US as well as throughout the world. Randomized clinical trials looking at the efficacy of the mRNA vaccines demonstrated 94% to 95% reductions in symptomatic cases (Polack 2020). Randomized clinical trials are considered the gold standard when evaluating therapies. However, they are not without limitations. Mass vaccination rollouts do not mirror the settings we see in the highly controlled environments of a randomized clinical trial. It will be important to note if suboptimal adherence to vaccination scheduling and handling logistics will affect the vaccines’ effectiveness. As we continue to vaccinate, we need to further assess the real-world effectiveness of the vaccines.