Background: Christian Drosten, virologist at Charité Berlin, expressed concerns in his podcast about the therapeutic use of inhaled corticosteroids (ICS). ICS contain cortisone, a substance that suppress the body’s own immune system, thereby reducing inflammation. It therefore follows that ICS could also weaken the body’s defence against the new coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2).
The German asthma specialists gave a clear answer: Neither children nor adults with asthma should change or stop their individual inhalation treatment due to the coronavirus.
If ICS is discontinued, a patient’s asthma may worsen to the extent that they would have to see a doctor or go to hospital. The risk of exposure to COVID-19 patients is significantly higher in those situations than at home.
The recommendation was jointly issued by the German Respiratory Society (DGP), the Society for Pediatric Pneumology (GPP) and the Society for Pediatric Allergology and Environmental Medicine (GPA).
Kümmel U. Asthma und COVID-19: Therapie unverändert fortführen (Asthma and COVID-19: Continue with the same therapy). Press release from Gesellschaft für Pädiatrische Allergologie und Umweltmedizin e. V. (Society for Paediatric Allergology and Environmental Medicine), 16 March 2020 (in German)