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Dexamethasone for COVID-19

You must have heard the trending news about the widely available drug “DEXAMETHASONE” reduces the risk of mortality by 35% in Covid-19 patients. But this is what you need to know more about this drug.

WHAT IS DEXAMETHASONE?

DEXAMETHASONE is a corticosteroid and is used in infections and autoimmune diseases. It is available as oral tablets, oral solutions, eye drops, ear drops and as injectable solution.

WHAT IS IT COMMONLY USED FOR?

Dexamethasone oral tablets are used to treat conditions that cause inflammation, conditions related to immune system activity, adrenal insufficiency and hormone deficiency. The mechanism of this drug is to suppress your immune system.

DEXAMETHASONE TO TREAT COVID-19 PATIENTS

Oxford University’s Recovery clinical trials have found that the low dose dexamethasone can increase the chances of survival in patients with COVID-19 who require respiratory support. In a study the drug reduced the number of deaths by one – third for people on ventilators, and by one – fifth for people on oxygen. There was no benefit found for people who didn’t require respiratory support. Although this medicine was found to be effective for COVID-19 patients who require respiratory support, it should not be used for mild symptoms of COVID-19. Dexamethasone is being used for oxygen dependent and intubated Covid-19 patients. As critically ill COVID-19 patients are in an hyperactive immune state the immunomodulatory drug prevents the immune cells from attacking the body.

If a patient with mild symptoms of COVID-19, whose immune system is working in a complete balance starts taking this drug then he would develop a propensity to go in to an immunocompromised state, which means his immune system would become weaker making the patient more vulnerable to not just an ongoing corona infection but other opportunistic and latent infections like TB (Tuberculosis), Candida (Thrush), typhoid etc. And this is just one of the many side effects of taking unprescribed corticosteroids. .

SIDE EFFECTS OF DEXAMETHASONE INCLUDE:

  • Heart attack patients can be at risk of further damage by this drug.
  • Long term usage of dexamethasone can cause eye problems such as glaucoma and cataract. It may also cause damage to optic nerve and increase susceptibility to fungal or viral eye infections.
  • Nausea, vomiting, dizziness, anxiety, mood swings or depression
  • Low potassium level
  • High blood glucose
  • High blood pressure
  • Digestive upset
  • Blood on stool or urine and other side effects.

Do not use this medication to tread COVID-19 unless your doctor advices you to do so. If you have questions related to dexamethasone usage, ask your doctor.

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