June 17, 2020

Dexamethasone reduces COVID-19 deaths by one-third

By: Judy Mathias
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Editor's Note

In preliminary results of this study from the University of Oxford, UK, a low-cost steroid, dexamethasone, reduced deaths by up to one third in hospitalized patients with severe respiratory complications of COVID-19.

A total of 2,104 patients were randomized to receive dexamethasone 6 mg once per day for 10 days, and they were compared with 4,321 patients randomized to usual care alone.


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In patients who received usual care alone, 28-day mortality was highest in those who required ventilation (41%), intermediate in those who required oxygen only (25%), and lowest in those who did not require any respiratory interventions (13%).

Dexamethasone reduced deaths by one-third in ventilated patients, by one-fifth in those receiving oxygen only, and there was no benefit in patients who did not require respiratory support.

These preliminary results from the RECOVERY (Randomized Evaluation of COVid-19 thERapY) trial are very clear that dexamethasone reduces the risk of death in COVID-19 patients with severe respiratory complications, the researchers say.

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