A recent clinical trial from the UK showed decreased mortality for patients seriously ill with COVID-19 requiring oxygen or ventilators when treatment included the corticosteroid dexamethasone.Read more from the WHO >
Early numbers for COVID patients placed on ventilators showed that 25% died within the first few weeks, so the possibility of reducing this mortality rate by 1/3 is significant and encouraging.
As the search goes on for novel treatment options for COVID we continue to see success with traditional therapies. These preliminary results for dexamethasone warrant a closer look at other traditional therapies for newer treatment needs, such as recent research into ivermectin’s possible role in COVID treatment, and we look forward to seeing more investigations that expand our knowledge of APIs already in use.
While the benefit of this study points directly to hospitalized patients, it could potentially lead to wider application of dexamethasone to patients being treated at home – and if the supply of commercially available dosage forms is exhausted, compounders may be able to help fill the need.
As always, healthcare practitioners must carefully weigh off-label use of any drug, and compounding pharmacists are familiar with the struggle of practicing evidence-based medicine when evidence is hard to come by. We must work together with prescribers and patients to weigh known drug safety profiles, review literature and supporting evidence, and educate doctors and patients on potential benefits and risks of any therapy, particularly ones with limited evidence or clinical trials.
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