This week the UK announced that an anti-inflammatory drug called dexamethasone has proven to be significantly effective in treating seriously ill COVID -19 patients. This comes as several research teams continue burning the midnight oil to get a cure for the pandemic.
In their research, they found that dexamethasone, a cheap and widely available steroid, cut deaths by one-third among patients critically ill with COVID-19. The NHS said they will make dexamethasone available to patients.
PM Boris Johnson considered it a remarkable British scientific achievement and assured the UK had enough stock of the drug as they continue with the research. The research found that over a 28-day period – the death rate among patients requiring ventilation was 41%, and for those needing oxygen it was 25%. The figure was 13% among those not requiring respiratory intervention.
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However, the use of steroids to treat viral respiratory infections such as COVID-19 remains controversial. A few months ago, the US president used a press conference to promote the use of hydroxychloroquine, a common anti-malaria drug, to treat Covid-19. There was a lot of backlash from several quarters as masses rushed to purchase the drug even though it needed medical prescription.
What is dexamethasone?
Dexamethasone is an oral tablet/oral solution. It’s also available as an injectable solution or an intraocular solution given after surgery.
What is it used to treat?
Dexamethasone is used to treat conditions such as arthritis, blood/hormone/immune system disorders, allergic reactions, certain skin and eye conditions, breathing problems, certain bowel disorders, and certain cancers.
What are the side effects of the medicine?
Stomach upset, headache, dizziness, menstrual changes, trouble sleeping, increased appetite, weight gain etc