Keeping pace with evolving knowledge about Covid-19, especially in terms of effective drugs, the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has released an updated clinical management protocol for managing Covid-19 cases. The updated protocol includes the advice to use Dexamethasone as an alternative choice to Methylprednisolone for managing moderate to severe cases of Covid-19. The change has been made after considering the latest available evidence and expert consultation.
Dexamethasone is a corticosteroid drug used in a wide range of conditions for its anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressant effects. The drug has been tested in hospitalized patients with Covid-19 in the recovery clinical trial and was found to have benefits for critically ill patients and has been shown to reduce mortality by about one third for patients on ventilators, and by about one fifth for patients being maintained on oxygen therapy. The drug is also a part of the National List of Essential Medicines (NLEM) and is widely available.
The Union Health secretary, Preeti Sudan has forwarded the updated protocol with all states or UTs to make necessary arrangements for availability and use of the updated protocol and drug Dexamethasone at the institutional level. The guidance document has also been made available online on the website of the Health Ministry.
The last update to the clinical management protocol was done on 13 June 2020.