COVID-19: Dexamethasone trial results confirm both benefits and risks
Washington, July 18: The full results from a UK trial of the steroid dexamethasone were published on Friday. It has confirmed its life saving benefits for COVID-19 patients on ventilators, but suggested it may cause harm if given too early.
In all 2,104 hospitalised patients were assigned to receive 6 milligram daily doses of the medicine for up to 10 days. 4,321 were to receive usual care, with the rate of deaths compared after 28 days.
Among those patients on ventilators, the rate of death for patients on the drug was 29.3 per cent when compared to 41.4 per cent on those without. This means that there was a reduction of 29 per cent in mortality.
However, there were no benefits among the group who were not receiving any oxygenation at the time the trial started. 17.4 per cent on the steroid died compared to 14 per cent who did to receive it, suggesting that the drug increased their mortality rate.