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Thursday, February 15, 2024

Has DRAP allowed doctors to use Dexamethasone to treat COVID-19 patients?

The Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan has issued an advisory to use Dexamethasone, only life-saving drug, to treat critical COVID-19 patients. Will the government be able to ensure what the DRAP has suggested since the drug has some serious side effects?

The Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) has issued advisory for the Dexamethasone injections being used for critically-ill COVID-19 patients, local media reports suggest. Have doctors been allowed to use Dexamethasone to treat COVID-19 patients?

The DRAP issued an advisory regarding the Dexamethasone and directed pharmacies to sale the injection only on prescription by the doctors.

Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Health Dr Zafar Mirza said that the Centre and provinces have issued directives to the drug inspectors across the country. The decision was taken in order to curb black marketing and hoarding of the vital injection being used to treat COVID-19 patients.

He clarified that sufficient stocks of Dexamethasone are available in the country and legal action will be taken against those creating an artificial shortage of the medicine. He added that the task force has been instructed to take immediate action against the violators of the regulations.

Who should use Dexamethasone to treat COVID-19 patients? False reports circulating on social media

Earlier it was reported that consuming leaves of the senna plant or sana makki can cure Covid-19. The news went viral and people started using it. Later on, a report found the claim to be misleading as health experts concede that the herbal treatment can boost immunity, however, it is in no way a cure for the deadly virus.

Dr Tahir Shamsi, head of the National Institute of Blood Diseases said the herbal treatment boosts immunity. “The herb has been used in allopathic medicine for centuries now with hakims and physicians alike using it to help cure chronic constipation,” he went on to say.

Sennoside and anthraquinone are two substances found in Sana Makki leaves which help reduce inflammation, as well as, swelling of the throat during influenza. Dr Tahir warned that these benefits are outweighed by its side effects “as everyone responds differently to it”. Dexamethasone is to be used to cure the patients after approval by the experts.

Dexamethasone, as a life-saving drug?

It is noteworthy that a UK-led clinical trial known as RECOVERY lately showed the steroid saved the lives of one-third of the gravest cases.  The results, described as a “major breakthrough” by scientists who led the trial, suggest the drug should immediately become standard care in patients treated in hospital with the pandemic disease, the researchers said. Dexamethasone is to be used to cure the COVID-19 patients now. The UK authorities have allowed doctors to use Dexamethasone to treat COVID-19 patients.

“This is a result that shows that if patients who have COVID-19 and are on ventilators or are on oxygen are given dexamethasone, it will save lives, and it will do so at a remarkably low cost,” said Martin Landray, an Oxford University professor who is co-leading the trial.

COVID-19 cases in Pakistan

The countrywide tally of coronavirus cases has jumped to 165,062 after 4,944 new infections were detected in Pakistan over the past 24 hours while 136 more people succumbed to the deadly disease.

According to data released by the National Command and Operation Center (NCOC), 61,678 cases have been detected in Punjab so far, 62,269 in Sindh, 20,182 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 8,998 in Balochistan, 9,941 in Islamabad, 769 in Azad Jammu and Kashmir and 1,225 in Gilgit Baltistan,

With 136 more Covid-19 related fatalities recorded over the past 24 hours, the number of people dying from the disease in the country has soared to 3,229. A total of 4,944 new cases were detected when 28,042 tests were conducted during this period.

The number of people defeating the deadly virus has reached 61,383. So far, 1,011,106
tests have been conducted across the country. But now the authorities have allowed doctors to use use Dexamethasone to treat COVID-19 patients.

The government decided to end lockdown to save the economy. To contain the virus, the selective lockdown has been imposed in various cities across the country. However, experts in Pakistan had warned against the premature easing of lockdown restrictions, fearing an exponential rise in infections. One healthcare worker said: “Everyone’s scared and exhausted. But we are fighting, we are pushing the limits. All we ask is that the government and people understand that they can help us help them by staying at home and providing us quality protective gear”.