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Dexamethasone use in mild Covid-19. More harm than good.

Dexamethasone, a corticosteroid drug with potent anti-inflammatory properties, reduces the number of Covid-19 deaths in patients that require supplemental oxygen or mechanical ventilation. However, it confers no benefit to patients with mild or asymptomatic Covid-19. It causes more harm than good when such patients use it. We explain why it’s a wrong move to take dexamethasone without a doctor’s prescription.

Covid-19 may cause a surge in the circulating inflammatory factors like cytokines that culminate in a cytokine storm. It may be the underlying mechanism that drives the development of moderate or severe Covid-19. Remember, you have mild Covid-19 if you neither require oxygen or mechanical ventilation. In other words, you can operate as an outpatient.

In the landmark RECOVERY trial, dexamethasone reduced all-cause mortality by up to a third among Covid-19 patients who required mechanical ventilation and a fifth among those that needed supplemental oxygen. However, it conferred no benefit among those who had mild Covid-19.

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Dexamethasone lives up to the expectation in the Randomised Evaluation of COVID-19 Therapy: The RECOVERY trial.

Dexamethasone is a potent corticosteroid drug that, through its anti-inflammatory properties, suppresses body immunity. It’s noteworthy that Covid-19 only causes subtle to no inflammation among patients with mild or asymptomatic Covid-19. It, therefore, makes no sense in suppressing that inflammation that doesn’t exist. It may impair the body’s ability to clear the virus hence delaying recovery.

Inadvertently suppressing body immunity due to prolonged dexamethasone use increases the risk of bacterial infections and parasitic infections. You risk reactivating any latent infection like tuberculosis, hepatitis B virus, and herpes virus. The risk increases when you dwell in a tropical, subtropical or warm temperate environment.

Dexamethasone may cause hyperglycaemia, psychiatric symptoms, and avascular necrosis. Psychiatric effects range from convulsions, depression, insomnia to mood swings and emotional instability.

Dexamethasone may reduce the efficacy of a few medications like artemether/lumefantrine and mifepristone.

It’s imperative to understand that you risk death from dexamethasone if you self-medicate when you have mild Covid-19. It is inappropriate to take dexamethasone if you have mild Covid-19. It causes more harm than good. Restrain from using the drug.


MBChB (MUK), Graduate Fellow, Department of Physiology, Makerere University Founder and Content Creator Peer reviewer, Associate Editor

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Nabukeera Jamira Ahmad

    Thanks so much

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