A review on corticosteroids reveals that nasal corticosteroid sprays may not be viable treatments for the common cold.
A team of researchers published an intervention review on corticosteroids as common cold treatment in a recent issue of the Cochrane Collaboration.
The study authors eliminated any study using experimentally induced infection with proactive intervention and when another respiratory infection was identified, such as influenza.
Subsequently, they were able to locate only 3 studies that looked at steroid use in colds.
Two trials were placebo-controlled, and the third compared children diagnosed with sinusitis with and without steroid treatment, although both groups received amoxicillin.
The 3 available trials were significantly different, making meta-analysis impossible.
Intranasal corticosteroids did not reduce time until symptom resolution in either placebo-controlled trial, while sore throat was prolonged in the corticosteroid group in one placebo-controlled trial.
The only trial that reported adverse effects found the rates comparable regardless of receipt of corticosteroids.
The study authors interpreted this to mean that patients who use corticosteroids for other reasons need not discontinue them when they catch a cold.