It has been proven that prednisolone does not improve sense of smell after Covid-19 and that for most patients this gradually improves over time regardless of treatment.
The study authors from UMC Utrecht stated that they do not recommend prednisolone for patients with persistent smell and/or taste disorders after Covid-19.
The persistent loss of smell experienced by some patients after Covid-19 infection was thought to be caused by an inflammatory response. A large randomised, double-blind study was instigated to investigate whether corticosteroids could be a treatment option. The results of the study were published in BMC Medicine.
“The results of our study in 115 patients show that after three months of treatment there is no greater improvement in the sense of smell in patients who were on prednisolone (40 mg/day for 10 days, starting at least four weeks after infection) as compared to those who received a placebo,” says Ear, Nose and Throat Surgeon Digna Kamalski from UMC Utrecht, who coordinated the study.
“We did see that the sense of smell of both groups of patients continued to improve, even long after the coronavirus infection has occurred.”
Olfactory disorders (dysfunction of smell) are a common early feature in Covid-19, occurring in about two of every three patients. Although most patients recover within four weeks, up to 46% of patients still have impaired smell after six months.