U.S. Hospitals Adopt Steroid Drug In Fight Against COVID-19


Multiple hospitals in the U.S. are seeing a rise in new coronavirus cases, and doctors are treating the sickest patients with a steroid without waiting on the finding of a study carried out by British researchers.

It’s a move that shows how the pandemic is altering how hospitals are handling COVID-19 patients.

Typically, doctors will wait for more information to become available before using a controversial drug or new treatment to get a better feel of the benefits or disadvantages. However, the urgency behind this pandemic and the lack of other options is changing the way things are approached.

The steroid – dexamethasone – is the first drug to show it reduces the chance of death is seriously ill coronavirus patients. It’s something researchers in charge of the trial have determined to be a breakthrough.

Oxford University researchers said the drug has led to a one-third decline in deaths among the COVID-19 patients who need oxygen or other breathing assistance. The health ministry is Britain has given the go-ahead for its use.

University of Florida’s Medical School Infectious Diseases Specialist Dr. Kartik Cherabuddi said it nearly feels immoral not to be using it.

As of Tuesday, the UF’s Gainesville hospital had updated the treatment guidelines for COVID-19 to include the use of dexamethasone. The inexpensive generic drug was rarely given to patients up until then.

According to Cherabuddi, his and other hospitals started to use the drug Remdesivir, but it’s not proven to shorten the recovery times or have an effect on overall mortality.

Several hospitals throughout the U.S. still have not adopted the steroid over fears it could actually suppress the immune system.

According to Dr. Mark Wurfel of the University of Washington, the case numbers are still low, and there’s not a lot of pressure to use it. He said where there is increasing pressure to stem the flow of rising numbers, the pressure to use dexamethasone is high.

AdventHealth, which operates in nine states and owns nearly 50 hospitals, has been using the steroid on its COVID-19 patients successfully since early April.

Executive Medical Director for Critical Care Eduardo Oliveira said mortality patients on ventilators is about 26 percent, which is lower than other reported mortalities being reported. He couldn’t say if the success is the result of the steroids.

AdventHealth, after looking at the British study, began using the steroid on patients who needed supportive oxygen but were not using a ventilator.

University of Oklahoma Intensive Care Unit Medical Director Dr. Brent Brown said the hospital has included dexamethasone has a treatment for ICU patients as of this week. The state has seen a rapid increase in the number of COVID-19 cases.

Brown said how they are tackling the virus has changed, and it’s good to have something that may be beneficial in the fight.

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Posted by on Jun 19 2020. Filed under Featured, Health, New. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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