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COVID-19 management: Could a cheap steroid help?

Demand for Dexamethasone has surged since British researchers reported it reduced deaths among very sick Covid-19 patients

YORK, Pa. — Last week, A British study found that a common and inexpensive steroid called dexamethasone, increased survival in severely-ill COVID-19 patients.

In fact, the study showed that the drug reduced death by a third in all hospitalized COVID-19 patients. 

Since it's release, hospitals have seen a huge surge in demand for the drug- with reports of orders increasing as much as 600 percent.  The World Health Organization has even called for accelerated production of the drug. However, doctors say it truly depends on who you're treating.   

"It didn't help people with less severe symptoms, which is why the WHO stresses that dexamethazone should be used for COVID-19 cases that are Severe or critical under close medical supervision and not by people with less severe symptoms or by people who are trying to use it to prevent catching COVID-19," said Health and Wellness Media Expert Dr. David Geier.

We asked the Pennsylvania Department of Health how they felt about the drug and whether it was being used here in PA hospitals.  They released this statement:  "At this time, dexamethasone has shown some positive results in severe COVID-19 cases in clinical trials conducted in the United Kingdom.However, this was a limited study that has not been peer reviewed yet. The National Institute of Health and the World Health Organization have both issued guidance surrounding the use of dexamethasone for severe COVID-19 cases.  The FDA, at this time, has not approved dexamethasone for COVID-19 treatment." 

The DOH did not, however, respond to my question about whether it was being used here in PA.  Dexamethasone is the second major drug that has been seen as a possible treatment for COVID-19.  the antiviral drug, Remdesivir, was first thought to help hospitalized patients leave the hospital sooner.