Brain tumour steroid used in coronavirus fight

1 min read

A cheap and widely available drug, the low-dose steroid treatment dexamethasone, is a major breakthrough in the fight against Covid-19 UK experts have said.

The drug is part of the world's biggest trial testing existing treatments to see if they also work for coronavirus.

About 19 out of 20 patients with coronavirus recover without being admitted to hospital and of those who are admitted, most recover but some may need oxygen or mechanical ventilation, and these are the high-risk patient’s dexamethasone appears to help.

Dexamethasone is a steroid drug that has proven beneficial in reducing the swelling (oedema) caused by some brain tumours. Swelling associated with brain tumours may contribute to the symptoms produced by the tumour including headaches and neurological deficits (such as weakness and loss of speech). Dexamethasone has therefore been prescribed to help to relieve some of these symptoms.

The repurposing of existing drugs is not uncommon and for brain tumour researchers the hope is that drugs that have proved efficacious in other areas may also prove beneficial for brain tumour patients

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