The Union Ministry of Health & Family Welfare has on June 27 released an updated clinical management protocol for managing COVID-19 cases. The updated protocol includes the advice to use Dexamethasone as an alternative choice to Methylprednisolone for managing 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.
Union Health Secretary Ms 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.