People who regularly use steroid nasal sprays may have a lower risk of severe disease from a COVID-19 infection, according to research recently published in Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice.
A research team from Cleveland Clinic followed 72,147 adult COVID-19 patients within the health system from April 2020 through March 2021. Of those, 12,608 (17.5 percent) were hospitalized, 2,935 (4.1 percent) were admitted to the intensive care unit, and 1,880 (2.6 percent) died during hospitalization. A total of 10,187 of these patients (14.1 percent) were using a steroid nasal spray before contracting COVID-19, according to the findings published Aug. 23.
Relative to those who weren’t using the nasal sprays, those who did were: 22 percent less likely to be hospitalized, 23 percent less likely to require ICU care, and 24 percent less likely to die from COVID-19 while hospitalized, the findings showed.
“While the findings of the study encourage patients who use intranasal corticosteroids chronically to continue to do so as needed, it does not suggest that intranasal corticosteroids should be used to treat or prevent COVID-19,” Cleveland Clinic said in a news release, adding that additional studies are needed to confirm these findings.
The study was based on reports from lab studies that found intranasal corticosteroid decreased ACE2, the protein receptor that allows the SARS-CoV-2 virus to enter the body and spread disease.
“This study shows the importance of the nose in COVID-19 infection,” said Joe Zein, MD, PhD, study co-author and pulmonologist at the health system. “The nose, in this instance, is the gateway to our bodies, allowing the virus to enter and replicate within. The use of intranasal corticosteroids may help disrupt that gateway.”