Dexamethasone Delivers Clinical Benefits For Critical COVID-19 Patients
The leader of the World Health Organization (WHO) clarified that dexamethasone, a corticosteroid, used in the treatment of many conditions, can be lifesaving for patients who are critically ill with COVID-19 disease.
Specifically, for patients on ventilators, the treatment was shown to reduce mortality by about one third, and for patients requiring only oxygen, mortality was cut by about one fifth, according to preliminary findings shared with WHO.
This means the benefit of dexamethasone was only seen in patients seriously ill with COVID-19.
Moreover, a clinical benefit was not observed in patients with milder COVID-19 disease.
“This is the first treatment to be shown to reduce mortality in patients with COVID-19 requiring oxygen or ventilator support,” said Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General, in a press statement published on June 16, 2020.
“This is great news and I congratulate the Government of the UK, the University of Oxford, and the many hospitals and patients in the UK who have contributed to this lifesaving scientific breakthrough.”
Dexamethasone is a steroid that has been used since the 1960s to reduce inflammation in a range of conditions, including inflammatory disorders and certain cancers.
It has been listed on the WHO Model List of Essential Medicines since 1977 in multiple formulations and is currently off-patent and affordably available in most countries.
Dexamethasone is used in the treatment of many conditions, including rheumatic problems, a number of skin diseases, severe allergies, asthma, chronic obstructive lung disease, croup, brain swelling, and eye inflamation following eye surgery, states MedlinePlus.
It may be taken by mouth, as an injection into a muscle, or intravenously. The effects of dexamethasone are frequently seen within a day and last for about three days.
‘These researchers shared initial insights about the results of the trial with WHO, and we are looking forward to the full data analysis in the coming days.’
‘Today’s findings reinforce the importance of large randomized control trials that produce actionable evidence.’
‘The WHO will coordinate a meta-analysis to increase our overall understanding of this intervention. WHO clinical guidance will be updated to reflect how and when the drug should be used in COVID-19,’ concluded Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus’s statement.
CoronavirusToday publishes COVID-19 treatment news.