WHO Strongly Recommends Steroid Medications to Treat Severe Cases of Coronavirus

WHO Strongly Recommends Steroid Medications to Treat Severe Cases of Coronavirus

Studies show that steroids could reduce the risk of death for hospitalized patients on ventilators by about a third.

The World Health Organization has recommended steroid medications to treat severe cases of Coronavirus after studies showed steroids could reduce the risk of death for hospitalized patients on ventilators by about a third. 

In June, the University of Oxford conducted a large study that found that a steroid called dexamethasone could cut deaths by up to 35 percent in hospitalized COVID-19 patients who needed treatment with breathing machines and by 20 percent in those only needing extra oxygen. The study did find that the steroid treatment did not help less sick patients and might even have been harmful to those with less severe cases.

According to the Associated Press, there were 222 deaths among the 678 patients given a steroid and 425 deaths among the 1,025 patients given placebos or just usual care. 

Doctors believe this new study could change the game in the fight against Coronavirus because steroids are widely available and fairly cheap. The drugs are often prescribed to help reduce inflammation and relieve pain.

Treatment guidelines in the U.S. now recommend dexamethasone or other only when it's not available for hospitalized COVID-19 patients needing extra oxygen, but that could change with new information. 

About the Author

Sydny Shepard is the Editor of Occupational Health & Safety.

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