The World Health Organization (WHO) finally has enough evidence to confirm: Corticosteroids, a group of popular anti-inflammatory drugs that can help save the lives of the most severe COVID-19 patients. The conclusion came after the experts gathered results from seven studies testing corticosteroids in patients who had to use ventilators in the ICU intensive care unit.
Earlier in June, a first study showed a clear benefit of dexamethasone, a corticosteroid, in patients with severe COVID-19 infection. New studies testing another more popular corticosteroid, hydrocortisone, have even better survival rates.
A UK study found that hydrocortisone can reduce mortality by 20% in patients with the most severe COVID-19 infections.
1. What are corticosteroids?
Corticosteroids are a class of drugs that have been used for decades to treat infections. That means that corticosteroids have also been used in patients with pneumonia, septic shock and severe respiratory syndrome.
Scientists therefore wanted to test this drug in patients with severe COVID-19, to see if it could help reduce mortality.
More importantly, corticosteroids are readily available, inexpensive, and on the WHO’s list of essential drugs. That means all nations of the world now have corticosteroids in stock for immediate use.
2. Evidence of the efficacy of corticosteroids
In a June trial, British scientists showed that a corticosteroids, dexamethasone, could reduce deaths by up to a third in ventilated COVID-19 patients and a fifth in those with mechanical ventilation. breathe oxygen.
A similar study in Australia and New Zealand found that more than 67% of COVID-19-infected patients treated with corticosteroids survived 28 days after receiving the drug. In comparison, only less than 59% of patients who were not treated with corticosteroids or who received only placebo survived.
Based on the evidence from these studies, WHO compiled data from 1,703 patients with severe COVID-19 infection who participated in seven clinical trials with corticosteroids and found that treatment was able to reduce overall mortality. down 32% compared with about 40% without medication.
That’s a substantial 20%, says Professor Anthony Gordon at Imperial College London. That means if you treat 100 patients on corticosteroids, you will be able to save 8 people. That is indeed an impressive number at the moment.
3. COVID-19 regimen will be updated immediately
UK National Health Service (NHS) head Simon Stevens, called corticosteroids “next weapon in the war against COVID-19 worldwide“The NHS will update the regimen so that COVID-19 patients in the UK can immediately benefit from hydrocortisone treatment, similar to the previous dexamethasone,” he said.
In Australia, doctors have also introduced corticosteroids to the treatment of hospitalized COVID-19 infected patients requiring oxygen. WHO has also updated the COVID-19 regimen guidelines, which encourage the use of corticosteroids for the treatment of patients with severe or life-threatening COVID-19 infections.
4. People should not store corticosteroids or use it to prevent disease
It is important to remember that the new findings of corticosteroids now support its use only in patients with severe COVID-19 infection. Limited information is currently available to suggest that these drugs are not suitable for people with mild symptoms of COVID-19.
Although corticosteroids can help treat COVID-19, they are not antiviral drugs. This drug only helps to treat the severe reactions of the body after COVID-19 infection, it is not a cure or prevention.
Therefore, experts recommend that you do not buy corticosteroids and take it at home. Some of the recommendations for corticosteroids to use in their trials were intravenous rather than an oral corticosteroids that can be purchased from a pharmacy.
Therefore, only doctors can prescribe these drugs to patients with COVID-19, people should not buy and take them on their own in the hope of prevention or treatment.
Refer Theconversation, Sciencealert