Cochrane Summaries

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Glucocorticoids for the treatment of anaphylaxis  

Choo K, Simons FR, Sheikh A
Published Online: 
15 August 2012

Anaphylaxis is a serious allergic reaction that is rapid in onset and may result in death. It is commonly triggered by a food, insect sting, medication, or natural rubber latex. The reaction typically occurs without warning and can be a frightening experience both for those at risk and their families and friends. Steroids (glucocorticoids) are often recommended for use in the management of people experiencing anaphylaxis. However, the evidence base in support of the use of steroids is unclear. We therefore conducted a systematic review of the literature, searching key databases for high quality published and unpublished material on the use of steroids for the emergency treatment of anaphylaxis. In addition, we contacted experts in this health area and the relevant pharmaceutical companies. We were unable to find any randomized controlled trials on this subject through our searches. We conclude that there is no evidence from high quality studies for the use of steroids in the emergency management of anaphylaxis. Therefore, we can neither support nor refute the use of these drugs for this purpose.

This record should be cited as: 
Choo KJL, Simons FER, Sheikh A. Glucocorticoids for the treatment of anaphylaxis. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2012, Issue 4. Art. No.: CD007596. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD007596.pub3
Assessed as up to date: 
30 September 2011