UVA doctor discusses use of dexamethasone for COVID-19 patients
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- While President Donald Trump was at Walter Reed Medical Center getting treatment for COVID-19, his physician said he was prescribed remdesivir, an experimental drug cocktail, and dexamethasone.
Dr. Jeffrey Sturek, an assistant professor and doctor from the division of pulmonary and critical care at the University of Virginia Health System, said dexamethasone has been used to help patients with severe cases of COVID-19.
Sturek said the drug was tested during a recovery trial in the United Kingdom. In this trial, Sturek said they found that the drug improved the conditions of patients who were either using oxygen or on a ventilator.
However, he said the trial also showed dexamethasone is not for patients experiencing mild symptoms of COVID-19.
"Part of the analysis found that those patients didn't benefit from steroids," said Sturek. "In fact, it looked like if anything there might be harm in milder cases so that's why in the case of COVID we think whether or not to use dexamethasone is sort of threading the needle by letting the body respond to the virus."
He says the treatment could also come with side effects for patients. One of these includes changing blood glucose levels, which could be harder for patients with diabetes to manage.