High-risk steriod drug given for home isolated Covid-19 patients in Bengaluru

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The patients of Covid-19, particularly some of the home-isolated ones have been prescribed a strong steriod drug called Dexamethasone given in the home-isolation medicine kit.

Dexamethasone can be administered via oral or intravenous (injection) method. The small doses of Dexamethasone when administered can be very effective in some specific cases like asthma, and for the patients having rheumatoid arthritis with inflammation, however, the doctors revealed the drug has a high risk potential of high blood pressure and causes an increase in sugar level when administered.

The members of the Karnataka’s critical care support unit having expertise in Covid-19 treatment mentioned that Dexamethasone cannot be utilized for treatment of all the Covid-19 patients. The doctors said the drug can only be effective for patients with high-inflammatory markers or low-saturation.

Dr S Sachchidanand, from the committee drafting Covid-19 protocols of Karnataka said, “It must be prescribed after proper examination by a physician.” Dr Sunil Karanth from the State Critical Support Care Unit said, “It must be given only to hospitalised patients, and only when oxygen levels dip below normal.”

Dr C N Manjunath, nodal officer for testing reiterated that Dexamethasone is not a drug for everybody. He said, “If inflammatory markers are high or saturation is low, only then is it prescribed.” He further added, “If the patient’s saturation is normal and is monitored on a daily basis, they can be in home isolation. If the saturation level dips below 93%, they need hospitalisation.”

An audio-call with a BBMP deputed private doctor helped the asymptomatic home-isolated Covid-19 patients with the prescription of the required drugs. A member from the Critical Care Support Unit said, “If the patient’s oxygen saturation is low and s/he requires additional oxygen, we give steroids in a clinical setting. We haven’t given steroids so far at home. Usually, steroids come into picture in moderate and severe Covid patients.”

In BBMP West zone, a patient was given the prescription of Dexamethasone during  home-isolation. Ujjwal Ghosh, the respective zone’s nodal officer revealed that home-isolated patients in the zone are supposedly triaged first by the medical officers appointed by BBMP. Ghosh also iterated on the medicines being prescribed for any patient based on the required assessment. He said, “We need to review this case.”

When asked clarity on the issue, BBMP West Zone Health Officer Dr Manoranjan Hegde did not give an response to DH. But, Chief Health Officer of BBMP, Dr B K Vijendra urged for precaution, saying, “Sometimes patients are given medicines arbitrarily. Let’s not think too much about this.”

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