Results from one trial have shown that dexamethasone, a cheap and widely used steroid medication to reduce inflammation, reduced death rates by about a third in the most severely ill COVID-19 patients admitted to hospital. (Photo by Matthew Horwood / Getty Images)
There is another treatment for coronavirus, and it is an easy steroid to obtain. Mercer Island’s Dr. Gordon Cohen joined Seattle News to discuss.
“Dexamethasone, a long-standing corticosteroid, is now the first drug that has been shown to improve survival in a COVID-19 infection,” said Cohen. “… This study was a large multi-center trial conducted in the UK. There were 2,104 patients who received six milligrams of dexamethasone once daily, either orally or by intravenous injection. And then there were 4,321 other patients who they were assigned to receive what they called usual care alone. “
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“They are launching the study early because they showed significant survival benefit,” he added. “But the full study data has not yet been published and has not really undergone the typical peer-reviewed scientific scrutiny.”
While the results are still early, the study is important and looks promising.
“The key is that dexamethasone saved lives. Patients who were on a ventilator and were likely to die actually had improvements. There was a 35% reduction in mortality, which is significant, ”she said. “And for patients who received oxygen but were not ventilated, the death rate was reduced by 20%.”
This medication is not intended to be preventive like others. It is used when you are being ventilated and you are about to die, or you need oxygen.
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“Patients who do not require oxygen and were not so ill, Dexamethasone will not be expected to influence that, while patients who are on a ventilator, those who require a lot of oxygen, are patients who have a high inflammatory response and here is where Dexamethasone as an anti-inflammatory drug comes in and actually reduces the death rate. “
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