Glucocorticoids increase risk of S. aureus bacteremia




Use of systemic glucocorticoids significantly increased risk for community-acquired Staphylococcus aureus bacteremia (CA-SAB) in a dose-dependent fashion, based on data from a large Danish registry.

On average, current users of systemic glucocorticoids had an adjusted 2.5-fold increased risk of CA-SAB, compared with nonusers. The risk was most pronounced in long-term users of glucocorticoids, including patients with connective tissue disease and patients with chronic pulmonary disease. Among new users of glucocorticoids, the risk of CA-SAB was highest for patients with cancer, in the retrospective, case-control study published by Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

CDC/Janice Haney Carr

Dr. Jesper Smit of Aalborg (Denmark) University and his colleagues, looked at all 2,638 patients admitted with first-time CA-SAB and 26,379 matched population controls in Northern Denmark medical databases between January 1, 2000, and December 31, 2011.

New glucocorticoid users had an odds ratio for CA-SAB of 2.7, slightly higher than the OR of 2.3 for long-term users. Former glucocorticoid users had a considerably lower OR for CA-SAB of 1.3.

Risk of CA-SAB rose in a dose-dependent fashion as 90-day cumulative doses increased. For subjects taking a cumulative dose of 150 mg or less, the adjusted OR for CA-SAB was 1.3. At a cumulative dose of 500-1000 mg, OR rose to 2.4. At a cumulative dose greater than 1000 mg, OR was 6.2.

Risk did not differ based on individuals’ sex, age group, or the severity of any comorbidity.

“This is the first study to specifically investigate whether the use of glucocorticoids is associated with increased risk of CA-SAB,” the authors concluded, adding that “these results extend the current knowledge of risk factors for CA-SAB and may serve as a reminder for clinicians to carefully weigh the elevated risk against the potential beneficial effect of glucocorticoid therapy, particularly in patients with concomitant CA-SAB risk factors.”

This study was supported by grants from Heinrich Kopp, Hertha Christensen, and North Denmark Health Sciences Research foundation. The authors did not report any relevant financial disclosures.

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