Scientists at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center determined mice infected with a type of severe bacterial pneumonia recovered more quickly and with far less lung inflammation than did mice treated only with antibiotics.
"Some people might think that if you give steroids, it would counteract the effect of the antibiotic," said Dr. Robert Hardy, an associate professor of internal medicine and the study's senior author. "But it turns out you need the antibiotic to kill the bug and the steroid to make the inflammation in the lung from the infection get better. The steroids don't kill the bugs, but they do help restore health."
Hardy said it's too early to recommend steroids as standard treatment for people with bacterial pneumonia, but the findings do support the need for a clinical trial.
The study is to appear in a future issue of the Journal of Infectious Diseases.
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