UK approves dexamethasone for COVID-19 treatment

UK approves dexamethasone for COVID-19 treatment

The United Kingdom government has approved the use of a widely-available steroid drug dexamethasone for the treatment of COVID-19 patients.

According to the UK Health Ministry, the government-funded UK trial showed drug saved lives by significantly reducing risk of death in hospitalised patients who require oxygen.

"The government ensures drug is available across all NHS healthcare settings and across the whole of the UK with immediate effect," the ministry said in a statement posted on its website.

The drug has been proven to reduce the risk of death significantly in COVID-19 patients on ventilation by as much as 35% and patients on oxygen by 20%, reducing the total 28-day mortality rate by 17%.

The RECOVERY trial reported the findings of 2,104 patients randomised to dexamethasone in comparison with 4,321 patients randomised allocated to usual standard of care alone. The trial has reported at a dose of 6 mg dexamethasone once a day for up to 10 days or discharge if sooner. No benefit is seen for patients hospitalised and not on oxygen.