A Statement on Dexamethasone and COVID-19

June 17, 2020

A new clinical trial out of the University of Oxford, United Kingdom reports that dexamethasone reduced deaths in patients with severe COVID-19. 

It is imperative that our patients and the public understand that use of dexamethasone for COVID-19 patients is for those who are hospitalized with acute respiratory distress and on respiratory support. The drug did not help moderately ill patients who were not receiving oxygen and does not prevent symptoms of the virus. It may reduce the amount of time patients are on ventilators and may reduce deaths. Data and the study have not been peer-reviewed or published at this time. 

Dexamethasone has been around for more than 50 years; it is inexpensive and commonly available. It is widely used to treat diseases like lupus, arthritis, allergies, and cancer. Though it may cause side effects, it is generally safe. The hope is that the drug's ability to reduce inflammation could be a treatment to reduce mortality in severely ill patients with COVID-19, but it is critical that we not rush to judgement and review the complete study.

Additional information about COVID-19 can be found on our COVID-19 Member Resources Page.

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