Dexamethasone & COVID-19
Dexamethasone has shown promise in helping the sickest patients get better. While this is a preliminary report, it offers hope for a potentially new way to help patients survive severe COVID-19 infections.
Professionally Reviewed by Charles Li, MD

What is Dexamethasone?

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how it's used
Dexamethasone
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drug type:

anti-inflammatory

appearance:
used to treat:

multiple sclerosis

allergies

endocrine disorders

Dexamethasone
how it's used

Injection Form

Certain versions of dexamethasone can be injected into muscles, veins, or joints.

Pill Form

Dexamethasone can be taken as a pill. Dexamethasone doses are highly variable and are typically individualized for each patient.

What is Dexamethasone?

"Dexamethasone provides relief for inflamed areas of the body. It is used to treat a number of different conditions, such as inflammation (swelling), severe allergies, adrenal problems, arthritis, asthma, blood or bone marrow problems, kidney problems, skin conditions, and flare-ups of multiple sclerosis."

Source: Mayo Clinic

Dexamethasone & COVID-19 Recovery

patients given dexamethasone were significantly more likely to recover from COVID-19. (95% CI = 0.74-0.92; P < 0.001)

Why This Matters

There are very few ways to improve recovery in patients with COVID-19. Dexamethasone has shown promise in helping the sickest patients get better. While this is a preliminary report, it offers hope for a potentially new way to help patients survive severe COVID-19 infections.

Top Questions and Answers

Dexamethasone & RecoveryVentilators

Patients who were on ventilators were significantly more likely to survive if they were given dexamethasone.

Why this matters

Patients on ventilators are some of the most critical COVID-19 patients. They have a high risk of mortality. In this study, researchers have found that dexamethasone helps the sickest patients the most.

More Information:Ventilators

What is a ventilator?

"Mechanical ventilators are machines that act as bellows to move air in and out of your lungs. Your doctor can set the ventilator to control how often it puts air into your lungs and how much air you get."

Source: NHLBI

Why do ventilators matter for COVID-19?

"A ventilator pumps air—usually with extra oxygen—into patients' airways when they are unable to breathe adequately on their own. If lung function has been severely impaired—due to injury or an illness such as COVID-19—patients may need a ventilator...There is much researchers still don’t understand about COVID-19, but we do know that many who are infected with the novel coronavirus get a fever, cough, and sore throat, among other symptoms."

Source: Yale Medicine

More Information:Dexamethasone

More information on Dexamethasone:

"Sometimes the immune system goes into overdrive and it's this reaction that can prove fatal - the very reaction designed to attack infection ends up attacking the body's own cells."

Author Quote

In patients hospitalized with COVID-19, dexamethasone reduced 28-day mortality among those receiving invasive mechanical ventilation or oxygen at randomization, but not among patients not receiving respiratory support.

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