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Dexamethasone added to COVID-19 treatment protocol

It replaces methylprednisolone for managing moderate to severe cases

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The Union Ministry of Health & Family Welfare released an updated clinical management protocol for managing COVID-19 cases which advises the use of Dexamethasone as an alternative choice to Methylprednisolone to manage moderate to severe cases of COVID-19. The change has been made after considering the latest available evidence and expert consultation.

Dexamethasone is a corticosteroid drug used in a wide range of conditions for its anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressant effects. The drug has been tested in hospitalised patients with COVID-19 in the RECOVERY clinical trial and was found to have benefits for critically ill patients and has been shown to reduce mortality by about one third for patients on ventilators, and by about one fifth for patients being maintained on oxygen therapy. The drug is also a part of the National List of Essential Medicines (NLEM) and is widely available.

The Union Health Secretary, Preeti Sudan has forwarded the updated protocol with all States/UTs to make necessary arrangements for availability and use of the updated protocol and drug Dexamethasone at the institutional level also. The guidance document has also been made available online on the website of the Health Ministry.

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